Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla
Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla
File Photo

Amid rising COVID-19 cases in India, the citizens can expect one more vaccine apart from Covishield and COVAXIN. Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla on Saturday announced that trials for Covovax, a vaccine to be jointly developed by both SII and US-based biotechnology company Novavax, have finally started in India.

"Covovax trials finally begin in India; the vaccine is made through a partnership with @Novavax and @SerumInstIndia. It has been tested against African and UK variants of #COVID19 and has an overall efficacy of 89%. Hope to launch by September 2021!," he tweeted.

SII has signed an agreement with Novavax to manufacture a vaccine with the name 'Covovax' in India. Novavax Inc on March 11 had announced the final efficacy of 96.4 per cent against mild, moderate and severe disease caused by the original COVID-19 virus in its Phase 3 trials of its vaccine candidate NVX-CoV2373 in the UK.

Novavax's vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, is a protein-based vaccine candidate engineered from the genetic sequence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease. In January, Novavax had reported 89 per cent efficacy against COVID -19 during its trials in the UK.

In January 2021, Poonawalla had said SII expected to launch Covovax by June 2021.

“Our partnership for a COVID-19 vaccine with @Novavax has also published excellent efficacy results. We have also applied to start trials in India. Hope to launch #COVOVAX by June 2021!”, Poonawalla had said in a tweet.

At present, SII is supplying AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield, in India and to other countries across the world.

Poonawalla’s announcement came on a day when more than 5.81 crore (5,81,09,773) vaccine doses have been administered through 9,45,168 sessions. India stands second in the world in terms of the number of vaccine doses administered as on March 25, 2021.

India launched the vaccine drive on January 16 when priority was given to healthcare workers and frontline workers. The public rollout for the vaccine - for those above 60 and above 45 with serious illness - started on March 1. From April 1, all people above 45 years of age can get themselves vaccinated.

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