India Approves Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine and 1 Other

NEW DELHI — India said on Sunday that it had approved two coronavirus vaccines, one made by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and the other developed in India, for emergency use, a major step toward halting the spread of the coronavirus in one of the world’s hardest-hit countries.

The approvals were announced at a news conference in New Delhi on Sunday. Dr. V.G. Somani, the drugs controller general of India, said the decision to approve the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and a local vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech came after “careful examination” of both by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization, India’s pharmaceutical regulator.

Indian regulators are still considering approvals for other vaccines. One, made by Pfizer and BioNTech, has already been approved in the United States and Europe. Another, Russia’s Sputnik V, appears to be less far along.

On Wednesday, Britain became the first country to grant emergency approval for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Argentina soon followed suit.

Officials in India moved quickly for a number of reasons. The country is No. 2 in confirmed infections behind the United States, and the outbreak is widely believed to be worse than the official figures suggest. The pandemic has devastated the economy,