Sensex Trades Marginally Higher; Dow Futures Up By 223 Points

The vaccines are being produced by AstraZeneca-SKBio (Republic of Korea) and the Serum Institute of India. The apex health organization has assessed the quality, safety, and efficacy data, risk management plans, and programmatic suitability, such as cold chain requirements of these two AstraZeneca- Oxford vaccines. The process took under four weeks.

The vaccine was reviewed on February 8 by WHO's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation (SAGE), which makes recommendations for vaccines' use in populations (i.e. recommended age groups, intervals between shots, advice for specific groups such as pregnant and lactating women). The SAGE recommended the vaccine for all age groups 18 and above.

The AstraZeneca-Oxford product is a viral vectored vaccine called ChAdOx1-S [recombinant]. It is being produced at several manufacturing sites, as well as in the Republic of Korea and India.

ChAdOx1-S has been found to have 63.1% efficacy and is suitable for low and middle-income countries due to easy storage requirements.

We will keep you posted on more updates from this space. Stay tuned.

At the time of writing, AstraZeneca Pharma India's share price was trading up by 5.1% on the BSE.

Moving on to news from the banking sector...

Government Shortlists Four Banks for Potential Privatisation

The Government of India (GoI) has shortlisted four mid-sized state-run banks for privatization, under a new push to sell state assets and shore up government revenues.

Note that privatization of the banking sector, which is dominated by state-run behemoths with hundreds of thousands of employees, is politically risky because it could put jobs at risk.

The four banks on the shortlist are Bank of Maharashtra, Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, and the Central Bank of India. Two of those banks will be selected for sale in FY22. The government is considering mid-sized to small banks for its first round of privatization to test the waters. In the coming years, it could also look at some of the country's bigger banks.

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Disclosure: Equitymaster Agora Research Private Limited (Research Analyst) bearing Registration No. INH000000537 (hereinafter referred as 'Equitymaster') is an independent equity research ...

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