Bharat Biotech on February 26 said that it has signed an agreement with Brazil for supply of 20 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin.
The deliveries are expected to begin during Q2 and Q3 2021.
The deal would be a shot in the arm for Bharat Biotech, which is looking for markets beyond India to sell its vaccine.The Brazil government will buy the vaccine for public use while the private market will get it once it is approved by ANVISA, the Brazilian regulatory authority.
"The company is delighted to partner with Brazil in its battle against COVID-19 and aid its immunisation programme against the virus," Bharat Biotech said in a statement.
"There is a strong interest in Covaxin from many countries around the world, and the company is fully committed to ensuring supplies promptly and efficiently," the statement added.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Covaxin is given restricted emergency use in India under clinical trial mode, as Bharat Biotech is yet to submit the Phase-3 efficacy data.
In India, Bharat Biotech is supplying Covaxin to the government at Rs 295 per dose excluding taxes.The company said it will be coming up with Phase-3 efficacy data by second week of March. It is ramping capacities to 40 million doses, with its third facility entering production.