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A healthcare worker administers a coronavirus swab test on Dec. 6 in Mumbai, India. Photo: Satyabrata Tripathy/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

India is reviewing the COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer and AstraZeneca for emergency use, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: India is home to the Serum Institute, the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world by volume. The country has also reported the most coronavirus cases outside the U.S., and the third-most COVID fatalities globally, per Johns Hopkins University data.

  • Daily coronavirus cases in India have gradually declined since September, but the country is still seeing several hundred deaths per day.

Driving the news: Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla tweeted on Monday that the company had applied for an emergency use authorization of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Poonawalla also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his support.

  • Pfizer applied for authorization from the Drugs Controller General of India late last week, the Times of India reports

Context: AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said last month that the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure the efficacy of its COVID vaccine, after a smaller dose received by some participants in its last trial was found to be the result of an error by a contractor.

  • Top scientists at the World Health Organization have called for more detailed information on AstraZeneca's vaccine. The company says the vaccine is 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.
  • The U.K. government approved Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine last week, after the company said the vaccine is 95% effective and has no serious side effects.

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - World

EU grants conditional approval of AstraZeneca vaccine

Photo: Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The European Commission on Friday granted conditional approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for people 18 years and older.

Why it matters: This is the third vaccine to receive approval from the commission, coming hours after the Emergency Medicines Agency recommended its authorization.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

WHO says most pregnant women can now receive coronavirus vaccine

A doctor administering Moderna's coronavirus vaccine at a university hospital in Essen, Germany, on Jan. 18. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has altered its guidance for pregnant women who wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine, saying now that those at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 or who have comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated.

Why it matters: The WHO drew backlash for its previous guidance that did not recommend pregnant women be inoculated with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, even though data indicated that pregnancy increased the risk of developing severe illness from the virus.