Coronavirus inoculation drive: As India seeks to increase procurement, a look at upcoming vaccines in the country

Hyderabad-based manufacturer Biological E has already received an advanced payment of Rs 1,500 crore from the Centre

Coronavirus vaccines in India: When the country faced a shortage of vaccine supply last month, the government had said that it would procure more than 200 crore vaccine doses in the period between April and December this year. These many doses would be sufficient to inoculate the entire adult population of India. Accordingly, the new vaccine policy states the Centre’s plan to procure 75 crore doses of SII’s Covishield and 55 crore doses of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, as these are the two vaccines being used in the country for the coronavirus vaccination drive. The remaining doses would either be procured from foreign manufacturers or would involve procuring doses of those indigenous vaccines that are currently in their advanced stage of trials.

Here’s a look at all the vaccines that are upcoming in India:

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Covovax: The vaccine developed by American biotech firm Novavax has shown to be 90.4% effective in its late-stage trials, and so accordingly, Serum Institute of India (SII) — which would be producing and supplying the vaccine under the name Covovax in India — could begin with the protein-based vaccine’s trials on children next month. The trials of the vaccine were conducted in the US and Mexico, and post the announcement of results, India’s COVID-19 Task Force member Dr VK Paul urged SII to begin the clinical trials in India as soon as possible. In fact, the vaccine’s bridging study in India is already in its advanced stage of completion, and therefore, he had said that the paediatric trials of the vaccine could begin now. It is expected that India would procure 20 crore doses of the vaccine between August and December.

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Biological E’s Corbevax: Hyderabad-based manufacturer Biological E has already received an advanced payment of Rs 1,500 crore from the Centre in order to pre-book 30 crore doses of its Corbevax vaccine, which is still being developed. This payment marked the first instance of the Indian government placing an order of doses with the manufacturer before the vaccine has been approved for emergency use by the regulatory authorities. Corbevax, which showed promising results in its first and second phase trials, is currently under the third trial phase. If the Centre’s plan is to be believed, the manufacturer would produce 30 crore doses of the vaccine between August and December, and of these, 7.5 crore doses would be provided by September.

ZyCov-D: Zydus Cadila based in Ahmedabad is manufacturing a vaccine called ZyCov-D, which is in its third phase of clinical trials. The manufacturer is expected to apply for emergency use authorisation for the vaccine sometime soon. The company is expected to produce about 5 crore doses of the vaccine between August and December this year, and once it applies for the licence, the government would know whether it would be fit for administration among children or not.

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Sputnik V booster shot: While Russian vaccine Sputnik V has been authorised for use in India and it is already being administered in the country. However, now, the vaccine developer Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology has said that it would soon be launching a booster shot version of the vaccine that would target the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, and this would be made available to other manufacturers as well. However, no other details regarding efficacy or timeline have been shared by Russia yet in this regard.

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Gennova’s HGCO19: Gennova Biopharma located in Pune is currently in the first phase of the clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine HGCO19. The firm had gotten the go-ahead from DCGI for the first phase of the vaccine trials in December last year, but they got delayed when the vaccine had to undergo an animal toxicity study again on the instructions of the regulator.

Nasal shot vaccine: Being developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with Washington University School of Medicine, the intranasal vaccine for coronavirus is currently in phase 1-2 clinical trial. Named BBV154, it is aimed to be a single-dose vaccine that could overcome the issues regarding the delivery and administration of injectable vaccines. Moreover, it is likely that the vaccine could also immunise the cells in tissues that are present in the nose, the mouth and the lungs of the individual. The government has stated in the past that after the conclusion of the trials, 10 crore doses of the nasal vaccine would be provided by Bharat Biotech.

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