India has recorded 54,044 new coronavirus infections, taking its tally to 7.65 million, Health Ministry data showed on Wednesday.
The world’s second most populous nation also has the second highest caseload, after the United States, which has a total of 8.2 million cases.
India’s death toll from the virus stood at 115,914, with 717 deaths in the last 24 hours, the Ministry said.
Infections in India have been on the decline since a September peak, but experts have warned there could be a surge as the festival season approaches.
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca Plc’s COVID-19 vaccine trial in the United States is expected to resume as early as this week after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration completed its review of a serious illness in a study participant.
AstraZeneca’s large, late-stage U.S. trial has been on hold since Sept. 6, after a participant in the company’s UK trial fell ill with what was suspected to be a rare spinal inflammatory disorder called transverse myelitis.
AstraZeneca, which is developing the vaccine with Oxford University researchers, had been seen as a frontrunner in the race to produce a vaccine for COVID-19 until its trials were put on hold to investigate the illness. Early data from large-scale trials in the United States of vaccines from Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc are expected some time next month.
Johnson & Johnson last week paused its Phase III COVID-19 vaccine trial to investigate an unexplained illness in a study participant. At the time of the announcement, the company did not know whether the volunteer had been given its vaccine or a placebo.
A J&J spokesman on Tuesday said the study remains on pause as the company continues its review of medical information before deciding to restart the trial. J&J noted last week that its “study pause” was voluntary. By contrast, AstraZeneca’s trial is on “regulatory hold,” which is imposed by health authorities.
Vaccines are seen as essential to helping end the pandemic that has battered economies around the world and claimed more than 1 million lives – over 220,000 of them in the United States.