India’s drug regulator DCGI has granted permission to Mumbai-based pharmaceutical company Cipla to import Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for restricted emergency use in the country.
Moderna’s vaccine will be the fourth COVID-19 jab to be available in India after Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik.
Here is a list of all the vaccines approved in India so far, and how they work:
The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine ‘Covishield’ is locally manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
A weakened variant of a common cold virus (known as an adenovirus) from chimps is used to create the vaccine. It has been altered to resemble coronavirus, despite the fact that it cannot cause illness.
When a patient receives the vaccination, it triggers the immune system to produce antibodies and prepares it to fight any coronavirus infection.
The vaccination is given in two doses, four to twelve weeks apart. It can be safely maintained at temperatures ranging from 2 to 8 degrees Celsius and simply supplied in existing health-care facilities such as doctors’ offices.
Delayed Doses Work Better: Study
Delayed second and third doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine boost immunity against Covid-19, a study by Oxford University, which developed the jab with the British-Swedish firm, said recently.
An interval of up to 45 weeks between the first and second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine led to an enhanced immune response, rather than compromising immunity, the study said.
Giving a third dose of the jab more than six months after the second dose also leads to a “substantial increase" in antibodies and induces a “strong boost" to subjects’ immune response, said the pre-print study, meaning that it has yet to be peer-reviewed.
“This should come as reassuring news to countries with lower supplies of the vaccine, who may be concerned about delays in providing second doses to their populations," said lead investigator of the Oxford trial, Andrew Pollard.
Covaxin is an inactivated vaccine, meaning it is made up of coronaviruses that have been killed, making it safe to inject into the body.
Bharat Biotech, a 24-year-old vaccine company that exports to 123 countries and has a portfolio of 16 vaccines, using a coronavirus sample isolated by India’s National Institute of Virology.
Immune cells can still recognise the dead virus after it has been injected, prompting the immune system to produce antibodies against the pandemic virus.
The two dosages are separated by 4 weeks. The vaccination can be kept at temperatures ranging from 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.
The vaccine, created by the Gamaleya Institute in Moscow, caused some controversy when it was first rolled out before the final study results were disclosed. However, scientists claim that its advantages have now been shown.
It employs a harmless cold-type virus as a carrier to deliver a small portion of the coronavirus to the body. The body begins to manufacture antibodies that are specifically adapted to the virus after being vaccinated.
It may be held at temperatures ranging from 2 to 8 degrees Celsius (a conventional fridge is around 3-5 degrees Celsius), making it more convenient to transport and store.
The Sputnik vaccine, unlike other similar vaccinations, employs two slightly different forms of the vaccine for the first and second doses, which are given 21 days apart.
They both aim for the coronavirus’s unique “spike," but they use different vectors - neutralised viruses that carry the spike to the body.
The theory is that utilising two distinct formulae strengthens the immune system even more than using the same one twice, and may provide longer-term protection.
Moderna’s method to protect against Covid-19 relies on messenger RNA (mRNA) to program cells to generate immunity to the coronavirus. This vaccine along with Pfizer are viewed as a preferred choice among wealthy countries, analysts said, based on clinical trial data showing they were more than 90% effective at preventing symptomatic coronavirus.
About 120 million Americans have received a Pfizer or Moderna shot so far with no major safety issue identified.
The United States and European Union are pushing to stock up on even more of the mRNA vaccines. Japan is also working to secure 100 million doses of Pfizer’s shot by the end of June.
The higher cost, production limits and demanding requirements for shipping and storage could limit mRNA-based vaccines’ availability in lower income countries, experts said.
The Centre has placed an advance order for 30 crore doses of a vaccine being created by the Hyderabad-based Biological-E called Corbevax. Not only is it an indigenous vaccine, it also could potentially be the cheapest vaccine available in India when it finally launches. So, what makes Corbevax tick?
HOW SOON WILL IT BE AVAILABLE?
The vaccine has received the nod for Phase III clinical trials in India after showing promising results in phases I and II. The Centre will pay Rs 1,500 crore for its consignment of 30 crore doses. Corbevax, like most other Covid-19 jabs out so far, is a two-dose vaccine.
After the completion of the Phase III trials, production to meet the Centre’s delivery target will continue between August and December.
The vaccine is reportedly going to be the cheapest vaccine available in India with the two shots expected to be cumulatively priced below Rs 400. In comparison, the Covishield vaccine which come at Rs 300-Rs 400 for a single dose. The Russian Sputik V, the third vaccine that has received emergency approval for use in India, costs around Rs 1,000.
The manufacturing of the first batch of Covovax vaccine has started at the Pune facility of the Serum Institute of India, the firm announced recently.
“A new milestone has been reached; this week we began our first batch of Covovax (a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Novavax) at our facility, here in Pune: Serum Institute India," the company shared on Twitter.
The SII is hoping to launch Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine ‘Covovax’ in India by September as its trials are in an advanced stage of completion, its CEO Adar Poonawalla had earlier said.
In September 2020, Novavax announced a manufacturing agreement with SII for its COVID-19 vaccine NVX-CoV2373. CNBC-TV18 reported according to Poonawalla, the trial of Novavax’s coronavirus vaccine in India is likely to conclude by November. The pharmaceutical giant can apply for a vaccine license even before its trial in the country concludes on the basis of the global data of the trial, he had added.
Novavax in a statement on June 14 had stated that the vaccine candidate ‘NVX-CoV2373’ demonstrated 100 percent protection against moderate and severe Covid-19 infection- 90.4 percent efficacy overall. And it also met the primary endpoint in its PREVENT-19 pivotal Phase 3 trial.