Coronavirus vaccination: As COVID-19 immunization drive picks up pace, India’s increased demand poses problems

By: |
March 19, 2021 6:17 PM

Let’s take a look at all the vaccines are currently being developed or tested in India apart from Covishield and Covaxin.

The issue with the increased demand, however, is that these two companies are also expected to supply coronavirus vaccine doses to other countries as per their agreements.

Coronavirus vaccination in India: As coronavirus cases in the country are increasing in an indication of a second wave of the pandemic, the government is also working full force on its nation-wide COVID-19 vaccination drive. With an aim to vaccinate about 30 crore people by August, Centre has ramped up its demand for Pune-based Serum Institute of India’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, which are the two COVID-19 vaccines that are being administered in India at the moment, according to a report in The Indian Express.

The issue with the increased demand, however, is that these two companies are also expected to supply coronavirus vaccine doses to other countries as per their agreements. The report stated that at least one of the two manufacturers have said that the demand from India has exceeded the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses they had earmarked for the country, and so, their ability to fulfil requirements from other countries on time has been impacted.

The issue has been augmented by the fact that several countries are carrying out raw material nationalism and not exporting the required raw materials for the production of COVID-19 vaccine in other countries, ultimately impacting the level of coronavirus vaccine supply in the world. Thus, it can be a cause of worry as to whether the existing supply of COVID-19 vaccines would be sufficient for India as well as for supply to other countries or not. However, considering the fact that India is emerging as the hub for manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines, there is hope that one of the other vaccines in the pipeline could be approved and fill any gaps.

Let’s take a look at all the coronavirus vaccines are currently being developed or tested in India apart from Covishield and Covaxin.

Sputnik V, which was developed by Russia and is being made in India in collaboration with Dr Reddy’s Laboratory for testing, and Hetero Biopharma and Gland Pharma for manufacturing. The vaccine has showcased an efficacy of 91.6%, and requires two doses. At the moment, Dr Reddy’s is completing a bridging study on 1,500 participants, and would be submitting the complete data on its safety to the regulator after this. Up to 35.2 crore doses of the vaccine could be manufactured in India in a year.

ZyCov-D is being developed by Zydus Cadila, which would need three doses. It is currently in phase 3 of clinical trials, with the capacity of producing about 15 crore doses annually.

Pune’s Serum Institute is also developing a vaccine called Covovax in collaboration with Novavax, and for that, SII is also likely to begin a bridging study on the Indian population soon. Biological E in collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine is developing a vaccine which would need two doses. Aiming for a production of about 100 crore doses a year, the vaccine has completed phase 1 and 2 trials so far, and would be publishing the results soon.

Bharat Biotech is also producing another vaccine along with Washington University School of Medicine which would only need a single vaccination dose, but its phase 1 trial is yet to begin.

Gennova Biopharmaceuticals is developing an mRNA-based vaccine and it has received approval for phase 1 and 2 trial, which is expected to begin soon.

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