How Biological E's coronavirus vaccine could be a potential gamechanger
A made-in-India coronavirus vaccine being developed by the Hyderabad-based firm Biological E is expected to be up to 90% effective against COVID-19, an expert from a government advisory panel said. Dr. NK Arora informed this vaccine is entering phase three trials and could be available by October. India currently has three approved vaccines against the coronavirus for adults.
'Its efficacy matches that of Novavax's vaccine'
"Bio E will be out likely in October with an efficacy matching Novavax's. In other words, 90 percent. They are moving to stage three trials soon (sic)," Dr. Arora told NDTV in an interview. He also chairs the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI).
How does the new vaccine work?
Biological E's vaccine, branded Corbevax, contains the spike protein part of the novel coronavirus. When the spike protein is injected, the body generates an immune response against it, thus helping the recipient fight off illness in case they are exposed to the infection. Most COVID-19 vaccines currently in use around the world are mRNA vaccines, viral vector vaccines, and inactivated vaccines.
Trials expected to be completed by July
Reports say the government expects trials for Corbevax to be completed by July. It is also the first vaccine for which the Indian government has placed an advance order despite a pending emergency use authorization. The government has paid Rs. 1,500 crore, ordering 300 million or 30 crore vaccine doses - enough to inoculate 15 crore Indian citizens.
At Rs. 250, it might be India's cheapest option
Another exciting aspect is that Corbevax might be the most affordable COVID-19 vaccine in India and one of the cheapest across the globe. It is expected to cost just around Rs. 250 for both doses, NDTV reported.
Novavax's vaccine could be launched in India by September
American firm Novavax's COVID-19 jab is also based on the spike protein method. In a recent statement, the company said the vaccine has been found more than 90% effective, including against some variants, in a large-scale phase three trial conducted in the US and Mexico. The Pune-based Serum Institute of India is looking to launch the jab here by September.
How is vaccination drive going in India?
India has three approved coronavirus vaccines - the indigenously-developed COVAXIN, Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield, and Russia's Sputnik V. Nearly 26 crore total vaccine does have been administered in India, however, only 3.5% of the population is fully vaccinated. The Indian government aims to inoculate all Indian adults by the end of this year. Meanwhile, there is no approved vaccine for children in India as yet.
India's coronavirus situation
India faced the world's worst coronavirus outbreak earlier this year, and its handling got marred by shortages of basic medical necessities such as hospital beds, drugs, and medical oxygen. The situation has since improved - In the past 24 hours, the country reported nearly 67,000 new infections. More than 2,300 deaths were also recorded during the same period.