Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla
Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla
File Photo

Mumbai: The world’s biggest vaccine producer Serum Institute of India (SII) on Saturday announced that it was hopeful to launch Covovax - developed in partnership with American vaccine developer Novavax - by June this year.

After developing Covishield, SII CEO Adar Poonawalla said his company has applied to start the trials of Covovax. “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,’’ he tweeted.

Poonawalla on January 14 this year had said that the SII would start stockpiling millions of doses of the Novavax coronavirus vaccine candidate starting around April. "Upwards of 40-50 million doses per month is what we are trying to stockpile starting from April," he said.

Poonawalla’s announcement came a day after Novovax declared that COVID jab was found to be 89.3 per cent effective in its Phase 3 clinical trial conducted in the United Kingdom trial. The study had assessed the efficacy of the vaccine during a period with high transmission, especially with the new UK variant strain of the virus emerging and circulating widely.

Novavax had earlier also announced successful results of its Phase 2b study, which was conducted in South Africa.

Further, the efficacy of the Novavax vaccine was calculated at 95.6 per cent against the original coronavirus strain, and 85.6 per cent against the UK variant. But the level of protection was lower in a smaller, mid-stage trial conducted in South Africa.

The Pune-based pharma company has been producing Covishield vaccine in partnership with the Oxford University and British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca.

Earlier this month, India launched the world's largest inoculation drive from January 16 after the drug regulator Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) gave its nod to two vaccines - SII's Covishield and Hyderabad-based pharma firm Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN.

The Centre has purchased 110 lakh doses of Covishield vaccine for the ongoing inoculation drive. During the ongoing vaccination drive, the Centre expects that about 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers will be inoculated.

India is the fastest country in the world to vaccinate 33,68,734 people in comparison with other countries as on January 29, said the ministry of health in a tweet.

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