India recorded 47,638 new cases of the novel coronavirus, taking its total to 8.41 million, data from the Health Ministry showed on Friday.
India has the world’s second-highest caseload behind the United States, but has seen a steady dip in cases since September, in spite of the start of the festival season.
Deaths rose by 670 in the last 24 hours, taking total mortalities to 124,985, the Ministry said.
Some 45 vaccine candidates are in human trials worldwide, with Pfizer Inc saying it could file in late November for U.S. authorisation, opening up the possibility of a vaccine being available in the United States by the end of the year.
Moderna and AstraZeneca are close behind the largest U.S. drugmaker and are likely to have early data on their vaccine candidates before the end of the year.
An Indian government-backed vaccine could be launched as early as February 2021 – months earlier than expected – as last-stage trials begin this month and studies have so far showed it is safe and effective, a senior government scientist told Reuters.
Bharat Biotech, a private company that is developing COVAXIN with the government-run Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), had earlier hoped to launch it only in the second quarter of next year.
“The vaccine has shown good efficacy,” senior ICMR scientist Rajni Kant, who is also a member of its COVID-19 task force, said at the research body’s New Delhi headquarters.