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Covovax trials finally begin in India; hope to launch by Sept: Adar Poonawalla

SII has signed an agreement with Novavax to manufacture a vaccine with the name 'Covovax' in India. Novavax has announced final efficacy of 96.4 per cent against original COVID-19 virus. Novavax with Serum will provide 1.1 billion cumulative doses for COVAX Facility

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | March 27, 2021 | Updated 16:31 IST
Covovax trials finally begin in India; hope to launch by Sept: Adar Poonawalla
Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla

The CEO of Serum Institute of India (SII), the world's largest vaccine maker, Adar Poonawalla, has announced the trials for Covovax, a vaccine jointly to be developed by both SII and US-based biotechnology company Novavax, have finally started in India. Adar said the vaccine has been tested against African and UK variants of COVID-19 and has overall efficacy of 89 per cent. Adar also said that he hopes the vaccine could be launched by September 2021.

"Covovax trials finally begin in India; the vaccine is made through a partnership with @Novavax and @SerumInstIndia. It has been tested against African and UK variants of #COVID19 and has overall efficacy of 89%. Hope to launch by September 2021!," he tweeted.

SII has signed an agreement with Novavax to manufacture a vaccine with the name 'Covovax' in India. Novavax Inc on March 11 had announced the final efficacy of 96.4 per cent against mild, moderate and severe disease caused by original COVID-19 virus in its Phase 3 trials of its vaccine candidate NVX-CoV2373 in the UK.

NVX-CoV2373 is being evaluated in two pivotal Phase 3 trials, a trial in the UK that demonstrated efficacy of 96.4 per cent against the original virus strain and 89.7 per cent overall, and the PREVENT-19 trial in the US and Mexico that began in December 2020," the company said.

In its analysis of Phase 2b trials in South Africa, the company said the vaccine has shown 55.4 per cent efficacy among the HIV-negative trial participants in a region where the vast majority of strains are B1.351 escape variants. Across both trials, the vaccine showed 100 per cent protection against severe disease, including all hospitalisation and death.

Also read: US firm Novavax partners with Serum; offers 1.1 bn COVID-19 vaccine to COVAX

"NVX-CoV2373 not only provided complete protection against the most severe forms of disease but also dramatically reduced mild and moderate disease across both trials. Importantly, both studies confirmed efficacy against the variant strains," said Stanley C Erck, President and Chief Executive Officer, Novavax.

The study enrolled over 15,000 participants between 18-84 years of age, including 27 per cent over the age of 65. The vaccine showed the efficacy of 96.4 per cent against the original virus strain and 86.3 per cent against the B.1.1.7/501Y.V1 variant circulating in the UK.

Novavax's vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, is a protein-based vaccine candidate engineered from the genetic sequence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease. In January, Novavax had reported 89 per cent efficacy against Cvovid-19 during its trials in the UK.

Also read: Serum CEO Adar Poonawalla leases London property for record Rs 50 lakh a week

India has so far approved two vaccines against COVID-19 -- Covishield, manufactured by the SII, and the indigenously-developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech -- for restricted emergency use in the country.

Besides, Serum is aiming at supplying 237 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford Covid-19 vaccine to 142 countries by May-end under the COVAX initiative, co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). COVAX is a global risk-sharing mechanism for pooled procurement and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

Novavax with Serum will provide 1.1 billion cumulative doses of NVX-CoV2373 for the COVAX Facility.

Also Read: 'Serum Institute directed to prioritise India's needs': Adar Poonawalla urges world to be patient

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