COVID-19: Serum Institute of India begins manufacturing of first batch of Covovax

The Serum Institute of India (SII) on Friday announced the commencement of manufacturing of the first batch of Covovax vaccine at the Pune facility. ‘’Excited to witness the first batch of Covovax (developed by@Novavax) being manufactured this week at our facility in Pune. The vaccine has great potential to protect our future generations below the age of 18. Trials are ongoing. Well done team @seruminsindia,’’ said SII CEO Adar Poonawalla in a tweet. On the other hand, SII said,’’ A new milestone has been reached, this week we began our first batch of Covovax (a COVID 19 vaccine developed by @Novavax) at our facility, here in Pune.’’

Poonawalla has recently said that the SII hopes to launch the American vaccine maker Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine Covovax in India by September as its trials are in an advanced stage of completion. The jab is more than 90% effective, said Novavax earlier this month after a US study.

The Centre is yet to give approval to a coronavirus vaccine for children. So far, three vaccines - Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, the SII's Covishield and Sputnik V - have been cleared for adults. Bharat Biotech has already started clinical trials of Covaxin for children 12 to 18 years of age.

In August last year, Novavax Inc, had announced a licence agreement with SII Pune for the development and commercialisation of NVX-CoV2373, its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, in low and middle-income countries and India.

Novavax on June 14 said its shots were highly effective against COVID 19 and also protected against variants in a large, late-stage study in the US and Mexico. Many of our first doses will go to low- and middle-income countries, and that was the goal to begin with," Novavax Chief Executive Stanley Erck said.

Novavax's study involved nearly 30,000 people ages 18 and up in the US and Mexico. Two-thirds received two doses of the vaccine, three weeks apart, and the rest got dummy shots. There were 77 cases of Covid-19 - 14 in the group that got the vaccine and the rest were in volunteers who received dummy shots. None in the vaccine group had moderate or severe disease, compared to 14 in the placebo group.

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