Bharat Biotech has announced that it will sell its COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, to state government at Rs 600 for a dose and to private hospitals at Rs 1,200 per dose. The company also said that it will export the vaccine at $15-20 (Rs 1124-1499) per dose.
"Recovering costs is essential in the journey of innovation towards other vaccines such as intranasal COVID-19, chikungunya, zika, cholera and others. Our core mission for the last 25 years has been to provide affordable yet world class healthcare solutions for the globe," said Bharat Biotech Chairman and Managing Director Krishna Ella.
Bharat Biotech has announced prices under directives from the central government regarding its next phase in COVID-19 vaccination programme that is scheduled to kick off on May 1. Centre had asked vaccine manufacturers to supply 50 per cent of their capacities to state governments and private hospitals at a pre-determined rate. This phase aims to inoculate every citizen above the age of 18.
Covaxin is one of the two vaccines, after Serum Institute of India's Covishield, to be approved for use in India's vaccination programme. Notably it is twice as costly as Covishield, which will be sold to state governments at Rs 400 per dose and to private hospitals at Rs 600 per dose.
Covaxin has been developed jointly by Bharat Biotech, Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Institute of Virology (NIV). The inoculation is based on the coronavirus sample isolated by the NIV. It also is the first indigenous vaccine against coronavirus.
Recently published Phase III trial data shows that Covaxin has an overall interim clinical efficacy of 78 per cent and 100 per cent efficacy against severe COVID-19 disease.
Covaxin has also shown resistance against multiple variants of coronavirus, including the double mutant variant. "ICMR study shows Covaxin neutralises against multiple variants of SARS-CoV-2 and effectively neutralises the double mutant strain as well," ICMR recently announced.
In order to arrive at this conclusion, the ICMR-National Institute of Virology isolated and cultured multiple variants of the virus - B.1.1.7 (UK variant), B.1.1.28 (Brazil variant) and B.1.1.351 (South Africa variant). India's premier health research body said that COVAXIN has shown its potential in neutralising the UK and Brazil variants.
Recently, ICMR-NIV was successful in isolating and culturing the double mutant strain B.1.617 SARS-CoV-2 which has been identified in Maharashtra, and several other countries outside India. This led to countries like Hong Kong, New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore, the US and the UK impose travel restrictions on India. According to ICMR, "Covaxin has been found to effectively neutralise the double mutant strain as well."
(Edited by Vivek Punj)