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Serum Institute of India likely to start Covovax trials on kids by July

The trials could start by July, one of the people added on the condition of anonymity.
By Rhythma Kaul, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JUN 18, 2021 05:26 AM IST
SII’s CEO Adar Poonawalla had earlier said that the vaccine could be launched in India by September, subject to the grant of necessary regulatory clearances.(Reuters photo)

The Serum Institute of India (SII) is likely to begin clinical trials of its second Covid-19 vaccine, Covovax, on children, said people familiar with the matter. This will make it the third vaccine to be tested on children in the country after Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Zydus Cadilla’s ZyCov-D.

The trials could start by July, one of the people added on the condition of anonymity.

US biotechnology company Novavax’s protein-based Covid-19 vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, will be locally manufactured by SII under the brand name Covovax. SII’s chief executive officer (CEO) Adar Poonawalla had earlier said that the vaccine could be launched in India by September, subject to the grant of necessary regulatory clearances.

In an interview to CNBC-TV18 last month, Poonawalla said the company planned to make and stockpile doses of the vaccine even though manufacturing was impacted somewhat because of the curbs that the US placed on the export of raw materials.

Those curbs have since been eased. “…we are starting to stockpile and manufacture Covovax this month itself… Right now, we could have been making twice as much if we had the raw materials; having said that, in the next four to five months, we would have made adequate arrangements from other suppliers outside of the US which is good news, so this is only a temporary problem. We just need it for these three months; after that we will be completely self-reliant,” Poonawalla added.

Novavax on Monday announced that NVX-CoV2373 demonstrated 100% protection against moderate and severe disease, and 90.4% overall efficacy, in its Phase 3 trial. “These clinical results reinforce that NVX-CoV2373 is extremely effective and offers complete protection against both moderate and severe Covid-19 infection,” Stanley C. Erck, president and chief executive officer, Novavax, said in a press statement on Monday

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