Hope to launch Covavax by June 2021, says Serum Institute's Adar Poonawalla
Serum Institute of India's (SII's) chief executive officer Adar Poonawalla said on Saturday his company is hopeful of launching Covovax, a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) which has been developed in partnership with Novavax, by June this year. Poonawalla also said SII has applied to start domestic trials of Covovax, which was found to be 89.3% effective in a UK trial.
"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!" Adar Poonawalla tweeted this afternoon," Poonawalla tweeted.
Novavax on Thursday released initial results from the trial, which enrolled 15,000 people aged 18 to 84, in the United Kingdom and said that it showed the vaccine to be 89.3% effective in preventing Covid-19. It also said that the vaccine was nearly as effective in protecting against the more highly contagious variant of the coronavirus first discovered in the UK. It also protected against the potent South Africa variant but at a lower rate, the company added. Novavax's UK trial is expected to be used to apply for use in Britain, the European Union and other countries.
Novavax Inc's chief executive officer Stanley Erck told Reuters on Friday that the company expects to produce up to 150 million COVID-19 vaccine doses monthly by May or June. Erck said that Novavax expects to complete the clinical trial for its experimental Covid-19 vaccine in the next few weeks, but is already working on manufacturing to be able to reach full production capacity quickly, according to Reuters. "We should be at full capacity starting in May or June, maybe as much as one hundred and fifty million doses per month globally," he said.
Poonawalla has said earlier in January Serum Institute of India would manufacture "upwards of 40-50 million doses per month" of the Novavax vaccine from around April. SII's Covishield, which has been created by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, along with Bharat Biotech's Covaxin is being used by authorities in India for its inoculation drive across the country, which was launched on January 16.
The Union ministry of health and family welfare said on Saturday that more than 3.5 million people have been vaccinated against Covid-19 in the country so far with 571,974 vaccinations conducted in the last 24 hours. The highest number of 463,793 people were vaccinated in Uttar Pradesh, followed by 324,973 in Rajasthan, 307,891 in Karnataka and 261,320 in Maharashtra, the ministry added.
India has around 169,824 active cases of coronavirus disease, the lowest since June last year. It has reported more than 10.7 million infections and 154,147 deaths, one of the world's lowest fatality rates.