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Serum Institute of India begun manufacturing of Novavax vaccine early this week

"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," Poonawalla said it a tweet.

June 25, 2021 / 04:23 PM IST
The protein-based vaccine, called NVX-CoV2373, demonstrated 100 percent protection against moderate and severe forms of viral disease, Novavax said. | Representative image

The protein-based vaccine, called NVX-CoV2373, demonstrated 100 percent protection against moderate and severe forms of viral disease, Novavax said. | Representative image

Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India (SII) on June 25 said the vaccine maker has begun the manufacturing of Novavax vaccine in Pune.

"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," Poonawalla said it a tweet.

SII has partnered with US biotech company Novavax to conduct bridge trials on the jab and manufacture the vaccine not only for India, but for other lower- and middle-income countries (LMIC) through COVAX, the global alliance aimed at accelerating the development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Read: COVID-19: Serum Institute yet to receive Novavax vaccine raw materials, launch likely to be delayed

SII will be distributing the vaccine under the brand name Covavax.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

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.

How many types of vaccines are there?

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.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

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.

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The Indian government has indicated that it expects 200 million doses of the Novavax vaccine to be available from August to December. The government is yet to sign any firm order with SII for supply of the vaccine.

Novovax has announced that its COVID-19 vaccine had passed the efficacy test with a score of 90.4 percent, meeting the primary target of its pivotal Phase 3 trial, offering another antidote to the coronavirus and its variants.

The protein-based vaccine, called NVX-CoV2373, demonstrated 100 percent protection against moderate and severe forms of viral disease, the US-based biotechnology firm said on June 14. More importantly, the vaccine scored 93.2 percent in efficacy trials on variants of the virus.

NVX-CoV2373 has a good safety profile and requires to be stored at a temperature of 2-8 degrees Celsius, meaning it can be preserved in household refrigerators as well.
Viswanath Pilla is a business journalist with 14 years of reporting experience. Based in Mumbai, Pilla covers pharma, healthcare and infrastructure sectors for Moneycontrol.
first published: Jun 25, 2021 04:15 pm

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