Pune-based Serum Institute of India said that clinical trials on children will begin from the month of July.
Amidst fears of the third wave of Coronavirus vaccine on children from July onwards. Pune – based SII, which is also manufacturing the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab known as Covishield in India, is hoping to introduce the Novavax vaccine, to be known as Covavax in the country, by September.
In the midst of vaccine shortage across the country, Novavax vaccine got a shot in the arm as the clinical trials were conducted across 119 locations in the United States and Mexico and proved efficacy of the vaccine. The development comes just days after Novavax Inc announced that its vaccine had turned out to be more than 90 percent effective in trials, including against a number of coronavirus variants of concern, in a large, late-stage clinical trial conducted in the United States. It was said that the trial was done on nearly 30,000 volunteers in the US and Mexico. According to the company, it is likely to apply for emergency use authorization in the US and other countries in the third quarter of this year.
Soon after the news broke out about the excellent clinical trial results, Dr VK Paul who is the head of India Covid-19 task force urged Serum Institute to begin clinical trials of the vaccine on children without any delay. While terming the vaccine clinical trials result as a positive development, Dr Paul had also said the vaccine was very relevant as it would be indigenously produced in the country and groundwork for the manufacturing of the vaccine has also been completed by SII.
As per the study, the vaccine candidate was found to be 93 percent effective against COVID-19 variants that are more easily transmissible and predominant. According to Novavax, the vaccine is generally well tolerated. Its side effects seen during the trial include mild headache, fatigue and muscle pain. According to the company, it is expecting to produce 100 million doses per month by the end of the third quarter of 2021 and 150 million doses per month in the fourth quarter of 2021. What makes the Covavax vaccine critical in the country’s Covid-19 immunisation programme is the fact that the government expects about 20 crore doses of the vaccine to be available between August and December. Also, the vaccine can be stored at a temperature between 2 and 8 Celsius which makes it highly suitable for Indian conditions where logistics and storage bottlenecks in far flung areas hamper efficient inoculation.
After the completion of clinical trials and regulatory approval to the vaccine, India’s Covid-19 vaccination drive will pick pace with three indigenously manufactured vaccines namely- Serum’s Covishield and Covavax and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.