Zydus Covid vaccine price continues to be key hurdle in Centre nod
ZyCoV-D is the first Indian vaccine to have shown to be safe and efficacious in children, and is the first to use DNA as a vector
New Delhi: The price of the ZyCoV-D vaccine has remained an unresolved issue between the central government and the coronavirus vaccine’s manufacturer, Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila, according to people familiar with the developments, who said that the company has quoted ₹1,900 -- a rate the government finds too steep.
“We are hoping that in a week or so there is some resolution in place; but for now the negotiations largely centre around the price of the vaccine that appears to be too high for a vaccine being considered for inclusion in a government immunisation programme,” said a person privy to the developments, on condition of anonymity.
ZyCoV-D is the first Indian vaccine to have shown to be safe and efficacious in children, and is the first to use DNA as a vector. The vaccine was granted an emergency use authorisation by India’s drug regulators after interim clinical trial data showed was 66% effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19, although the company has not released details of their studies or put them through peer review.
The trial included volunteers in the 12-18 age group.
The government last Thursday said that the indigenously-developed needle-free vaccine will be introduced in the nationwide anti-coronavirus vaccination drive “very shortly”.
The vaccine is administered through a needle-free jet injector and a special applicator that is likely to cost around ₹30,000.
Since the vaccine has been tested in 12-18 year-olds, it is likely to be included in the porgramme to inoculate children with priority being given to those children who suffer from specified comorbidities.
The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation is working on the protocol and framework for the inclusion of this vaccine in the programme.
The vaccine is to be given on day zero, 28 and 56 as per the schedule shared by the company.
Globally, at least 50 countries have begun giving doses to children. In most cases, children above the age of 12 are being inoculated. The shots being used for these ages are typically the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna doses.
In India, makers of Covaxin and the Novavax vaccine are carrying out supplementary – also known as bridging -- trials in children.
Nearly three rounds of meetings have taken place so far between the Centre and the company, the recent one being on September 30.
“The discussions are on, and there should be some resolution soon,” added the official.