J&J partners with India's Biological E to produce COVID-19 vaccine
American pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson has partnered with the Indian firm Biological E. Limited for the production of its COVID-19 vaccine, a move that could boost the country's overall supplies amid a serious shortage. J&J had earlier sought permission to conduct a local trial in India for its vaccine, called the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. Here are more details on this.
'Biological E an important part of our global supply network'
"Johnson & Johnson is working with Biological E. Limited on the manufacturing of the Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. We believe Biological E. will be an important part of our global COVID-19 vaccine supply network," a statement by the company said. "We appreciate the ongoing and extensive collaborations and partnerships we have with governments, health authorities and other companies to help end this pandemic," it added.
Last month, J&J sought permission to conduct local trials
J&J had last month said it has sought permission from the Indian government to carry out a local clinical trial for its vaccine. "We are in discussions with the Government of India with the objective of starting a bridging clinical study of our Janssen COVID-19 vaccine candidate in India, subject to local regulatory approvals," it had said in April.
J&J single-shot vaccine approved in the US, EU
The J&J COVID-19 vaccine is one of the few single-shot coronavirus vaccines currently available around the globe. It has already been approved for emergency use in the United States, the European Union (EU), and some other nations like Thailand and South Africa. The vaccine was reportedly 66.3% effective in clinical trials at preventing illness in people two weeks after receiving the dose.
However, US had paused J&J vaccine's use, resumed later
Last month, the US had paused the use of the J&J vaccine, following reports of rare blood clots in several recipients. The restriction was later lifted after regulators said the vaccine's benefits outweighed any risks. However, a warning about potential blood clots was also added.
3% of Indian population is fully vaccinated
India currently has three approved vaccines in use - the locally developed COVAXIN, Oxford University-AstraZeneca's Covishield, and the latest addition - Russian vaccine Sputnik V. However, the unprecedented surge in infections over the past month derailed its inoculation drive. India has so far administered more than 18 crore vaccine doses. Only 3% of its population of 1.4 billion is fully vaccinated.
Government says 216 crore doses will be available by December
The Indian government has promised to make available 216 crore doses of coronavirus vaccines by the end of this year. Apart from the three already approved vaccines, that plan includes vaccines from Biological E, Zydus Cadila, Novavax, and Gennova Biopharmaceuticals.