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

Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine has demonstrated 93 percent effectiveness against novel coronavirus' variants of concern and variants of interest.

June 17, 2021 / 08:33 AM 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

The launch of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine is likely to be delayed further as the Serum Institute of India (SII) is yet to receive raw materials from the US despite the end on the export ban.

SII is yet to receive raw materials from the US needed to produce the Novavax vaccine, Mint reported citing an official aware of the development.

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The launch of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine, to be produced by SII under the brand name Covovax, is likely to not take place before September as planned earlier, the official told the publication.

Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.

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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 Joe Biden administration on June 4 lifted an embargo on the export of COVID-19 vaccine raw materials.

Read: What Novavax data means to India, approval timelines, volumes and price

SII CEO Adar Poonawalla recently said that the firm plans to launch the Novavax vaccine by September. The pharma company is also planning to start clinical trials of Covovax for children in July.

"It will soon apply to the drug regulator to approve the vaccine’s trial on children," Poonawalla added.

Serum Institute, which has partnered with Novavax, is also conducting bridge trials on the jab. The Pune-based vaccine maker will manufacture the vaccine not only for India but for dozens of lower and middle-income countries through Covax, the global alliance aimed at accelerating the development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Also read: Serum Institute may launch Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine in India by September, says CEO Adar Poonawalla

The US-based pharmaceutical company had on June 14 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.

The protein-based vaccine, called NVX-CoV2373, demonstrated 100 percent protection against moderate and severe forms of viral disease, Novavax said, adding that the vaccine scored 93.2 percent in efficacy trials on variants of the virus.

Click here for Moneycontrol's full coverage of COVID-19
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jun 17, 2021 08:33 am

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