The government has signed a fresh deal with Serum Institute of India (SII) for procuring 20 million doses of Covishield. The Centre had ordered 11 million doses of the jab in January this year from the Pune-based vaccine manufacturer.
The deal was signed last week, reported the Mint. Serum Institute, the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world, has partnered with Oxford University and British-Swedish pharma major AstraZeneca to manufacture their COVID-19 vaccine, which is being marketed in India under the name Covishield.
Covishield is based on the viral vector platform. A chimpanzee adenovirus named ChAdOx1 is the vector which has been modified to carry the coronavirus spike protein into human cells. It is one of the two vaccines, along with Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, being used in India's vaccination programme against coronavirus.
The intramuscular shot has to be administered in two doses with a gap of 28 days between them. The two-dose regime has shown an efficacy of 62 per cent in the Phase-3 clinical trials.
Covishield doesn't require sub-zero temperature for storage and remains stable at 2-8 degrees Celsius. This temperature can be easily maintained with commonly available refrigeration methods, making the vaccine ideal for dissemination in the warm climate of India.
Apart from India, Serum Institute is also providing Covishield to several poor nations through the COVAX facility being led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organisation, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and others.