As the Centre aims to vaccinate all aged 18 and above by the end of 2021, the availability of COVID-19 vaccines is crucial to achieving the massive target. The government has now placed an order for 30 crore doses with Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical company Biological E to augment the country’s vaccination coverage and pace. The Union Health Ministry will soon make an advance payment of Rs 1,500 crore for the second made-in-India vaccine.
The Biological E's vaccine has shown promising results in Phase 1 and 2 of clinical trials, according to the government, and Phase-3 trials are already on. The 30 crore doses will be manufactured and stockpiled between August and December.
The yet-unnamed COVID-19 vaccine has been developed in association with the Baylor College of Medicine, the US, and is going to be modelled after the Hepatitis E vaccine.
The Biological E vaccine was examined and recommended for approval by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC).
Biological E will also manufacture two different COVID-19 vaccines in India. The company has a deal with Canadian pharmaceutical company Providence Therapeutic Holdings to manufacture its mRNA vaccine for the coronavirus and another with Johnson and Johnson to manufacture their single-dose Janssen vaccine.
The company plans to produce up to 10 crore doses of its subunit vaccine, 60 crore of the J&J vaccine and 60 crore doses of the Providence mRNA vaccine in 2021.
Besides Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Serum Institute of India's Covishield, Russia's Sputnik V vaccine will be used to inoculate 1 crore people in a day by August. The Centre is already in talks with foreign makers like Pfizer and Moderna, who have insisted on an indemnity clause.
First Published: IST