The Union health ministry on Tuesday confirmed that drug manufacturers Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech have applied for emergency use approval of their potential coronavirus vaccines, ANI reported. The development came a day after Serum Institute’s Chief Executive Officer Adar Poonawalla made the announcement on Twitter.

Union Health Ministry Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that as many as six vaccines were in the clinical stage trials in India and that some of the vaccines may soon get a licence. “Some of the vaccine candidates may get licensed in the next few weeks,” Bhushan said while addressing a press conference on the status of the vaccine programme in the country. “PM [Modi] has interacted with all vaccine manufactures and scientists.”

Bhushan said that India’s regulatory framework has a specific provision for grant of emergency use authorisation, which would be followed in the case of the received applications.

India has not signed a deal for a coronavirus vaccine yet so it is unclear when it will be available for use in the country. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said at an all-party meeting last week that experts believe a coronavirus vaccine could be available in India in the next few weeks.

Serum Institute had had said on November 28 that the Centre was likely to buy 300-400 million [30 to 40 crore] doses of its vaccine by July 2021, even though it did not give anything in writing. On the other hand, Bharat Biotech is currently conducting the phase 3 clinical trials of its vaccine in India, with 26,000 participants from across 22 sites in the country.

India has so far recorded 97,03,770 cases and 1,40,958 deaths. More than 91.78 lakh people have recovered from the disease so far.