Serum CEO Poonawalla hopes to launch second vaccine by September
Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla today said that his company hopes to launch its second coronavirus vaccine by September this year. The trials of this vaccine, called Covovax, began in India earlier this week. Covovax has been made by Serum Institute in collaboration with the American vaccine development company Novavax. Here are more details on this.
Covovax has overall efficacy of 89%, says Poonawalla
Covovax has been tested against the African and the UK variants of COVID-19, Poonawalla said. "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 an overall efficacy of 89%. Hope to launch by September 2021!" he tweeted this afternoon.
Trials began in Pune earlier this week
Once approved, Covovax will be Serum Institute of India's second COVID-19 vaccine after Covishield. The company is supplying Covishield, developed in collaboration with Oxford University and AstraZeneca, to India and several other countries. Meanwhile, the trials for Covovax began at a Pune hospital on Thursday. Further, at least one more site is expected to begin trials by Tuesday.
Trials to cover 1,140 participants
Reportedly, the trials will be held at 19 sites across the country covering a total of 1,140 participants. Delhi's Hamdard Institute of Medical Sciences and Research will also take part in the trials.
Covovax 96% effective against original COVID-19 strain
As per reports, in the phase three trial conducted in the UK, Covovax showed an efficacy of 96 percent against the original strain of coronavirus. However, its efficacy against the UK variant of COVID-19 is 86.3 percent while in a phase two trial conducted in South Africa, the vaccine's overall efficacy dropped to 48.6 percent.
India reports over 1.19 crore coronavirus cases
Two COVID-19 vaccines are currently in use in India - Covishield and the indigenously-developed COVAXIN. India, which logged over 1.19 crore coronavirus cases and more than 1.61 lakh deaths due to it, has administered more than 5.4 crore vaccine doses to its citizens so far. India on Friday reported over 62,000 fresh coronavirus infections, the highest single-day jump in over five months.