COVID-19 vaccine Corbevax's samples cleared by India's apex testing laboratory
Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical company Biological E's COVID-19 vaccine Corbevex's samples were cleared by the Central Drugs Laboratory in Kasauli on Tuesday. The move will help the company kickstart manufacturing and stockpiling its vaccine for roll-out in the country's vaccination program against COVID-19. Notably, Corbevax is India's third indigenous COVID-19 vaccine after COVAXIN and ZyCoV-D. Here are more details.
Why does it matter?
- If Corbevax gets emergency use approval in India, it would be the third indigenous vaccine to be administered in the country.
- Officials maintained the vaccine is likely to get India's drug regulator's approval by November-end or December.
- However, there won't be many receivers of the vaccine as the majority of Indians are already inoculated with existing COVID-19 vaccines administered in the country—COVAXIN or Covishield.
Corbevax to get emergency use approval November-end, December: Official
A senior official at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare told CNN-News18 that the clearance report of Corbevax has been sent to the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI). "The company will soon be informed by his (DGCI) office," the official added. The vaccine is likely to get the emergency use approval by the end of November or December, the official said.
There will be few takers of the vaccine: Official
The official said the Corbevax would have a "narrow audience" for vaccination when it becomes available in the market. This is because 80% of Indians are already partially inoculated with either COVAXIN or Covishield, and existing protocols won't allow them to mix Corbevax as their second dose. Furthermore, millions of doses of already available vaccines have also been lined up for testing at CDL.
Trials on children and booster jab ongoing: Report
Meanwhile, the trials are ongoing to use Corbevax for COVID-19 vaccination on children, CNN-News18 reported. The vaccine is also being examined for its potential use as a single-dose booster jab on those inoculated with COVAXIN and Covishield.
How does Corbevax work against COVID-19?
Corbevax is a recombinant protein subunit vaccine, which uses a specific part—spike protein—of SARS CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, to trigger an immune response against COVID-19 in advance. The novel coronavirus uses spike proteins to latch onto human cells. Since Corbevax injects spike protein without the virus, the body uses the antibodies generated to fight the real virus when it attempts to infect.
Government ordered 30 crore doses of Corbevax by December
The central government is considering Corbevax as a high-potential vaccine and has placed an order for 30 crore doses to be supplied by December. The Centre had also made an advance payment of Rs. 1,500 crore for the same, reports claimed.
Corbevax's manufacturing faced setback due to shortage of raw material
Earlier in June, the Centre had announced that Biological E would start manufacturing and stockpiling Corbevax from August-December 2021. However, the production of the vaccine had reportedly faced a setback due to the unavailability of certain imported raw materials. "In September, the company managed to procure the raw material," an official told CNN-News18.