Covaxin not finding international takers even when supplied free of cost by India

▴ Covaxin not finding international takers even when supplied free of cost by India
According to sources, of the 64.7 lakh Covid vaccine doses that have been sent out by India pro bono as part, only 2 lakh are doses of India’s Covaxin. The rest are doses of Serum Institute's Covishield.

ven as India makes it mark in the world with its vaccine diplomacy amid the Covid crisis, there are few international takers for its homemade vaccine Covaxin.

Of the 8.1 lakh doses of Bharat Biotech's Covid vaccine Covaxin that India promised as a grant in aid to seven countries, only 2 lakh doses have been procured by Myanmar. India's first indigenous vaccine against Covid-19 was to be sent pro bono to Myanmar, Mongolia, Oman, Bahrain, the Philipines, Maldives and Mauritius as a goodwill gesture.

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting on January 18, at the health ministry between the Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar and MoS Pharmaceuticals Mansukh Mandaviya.

Before that, manufacturer Bharat Biotech International Limited was informed through an office memorandum dated January 15 that 8.1 lakh doses of Covaxin would be procured by the Minister of External affairs directly from them. The memorandum said that the procurement would start by January 22.

The government, on Friday, informed that 64.7 lakh doses of Covid vaccines have been supplied as a grant to other nations while 165 lakh doses have been supplied on a commercial basis. The statement was made by Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson, MEA.

Of the 64.7 lakh doses that have gone out pro bono, only 2 lakh are doses of India’s Covaxin. The rest are doses of Serum Institute's Covishield, developed by the Oxford University.

A month on, there have been few takers for Covaxin. A source within the company told India Today TV that the decision to procure the vaccine lies with individual governments. "The fact that Myanmar has given the vaccine to its forces shows that they have faith in our vaccine," he said on condition of anonymity.

But the fact that Covaxin is yet to complete its phase III trials is evidently a sore point. Bharat Biotech had started phase III trials for Covaxin in November 2020, enrolling 25,800 volunteers across India. Up until now, nearly 25,000 volunteers have received both doses of the vaccine. Unblinding the study would be the next step after which the efficacy data would become available. For this, the developers of the vaccine would require atleast 43 Covid positive cases among the volunteers.

On finding no takers for Covaxin, sources within the Indian government say that countries are free to carry out bridging studies of the vaccine in case their regulator wishes them to do so. The developers of the vaccine have accepted that generating the data with regard to efficacy can take time and it is a process that needs to be respected.

Bharat Biotech has taken assurance from the fact that the vaccine is generating Covid neutralizing antibodies. The data regarding safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine has been published in the Lancet -- a development that was underscored by the Indian Council of Medical Research which has collaborated with BBIL for developing the vaccine.

The absence of efficacy data for Covaxin has seen a political tug-of-war in India as well with Congress-led states like Chhattisgarh opposing the Centre sending Covaxin to the state. In his latest barb, Chhattisgarh Health Minister TS Deo wrote on Twitter that the fears around the vaccine were "not unfounded". "How can a vaccine be made available for regular use unless it has cleared the 3rd phase of trials and its reports are published?" he tweeted.

This led to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan shooting off a letter to the Deo asking him to focus on the coverage of the vaccine in the state instead.

Story Credit

Tags : #Covaxin #Covishield #BharatBiotech #SeumInstitute #Myanmar #OxfordUniversity

About the Author

Team Medicircle

Related Stories

Loading Please wait...


Trending Now

EV Conference 24---Charging Up for e-mobility Minister Ponnam Prabhakar and Jayesh Ranjan among others to graceJune 14, 2024
Are we on track to end AIDS, end viral hepatitis and end STIs by 2030?June 14, 2024
HR Conclave Focusing on Future-Forward Engineering where Engineering and Management students meet their future employees, thus exposing students to real-world HR challenges and innovative solutionsJune 14, 2024
MAGGI Empowers 10 Women to Bring their Entrepreneurial dreams to lifeJune 13, 2024
FTCCI announced its Annual Excellence Awards and invites entries, last date is 20th June 2024June 13, 2024
Bird Flu Cases by Dr Praveen Gupta, Principle Director and Chief of Neurology, Fortis Hospital.June 13, 2024
Sova Health's $1 Million Seed Funding to Drive Gut Health InnovationJune 13, 2024
The Vital Role of Early Detection: Kevin Jonas on Battling Skin CancerJune 13, 2024
Zumutor Biologics Advances Cancer Care with Novel Immunotherapy ZM008: A First-in-Class Anti LLT1 AntibodyJune 13, 2024
HP Ghosh Hospital Unveils Innovative "Chest Tree" June 12, 2024
Olympus Enhances Innovation Capabilities by Expanding R&D to Hyderabad, IndiaJune 12, 2024
From the frontlines: Homeless person won over alcoholism, survived floods and defeated TBJune 12, 2024
The Role of Hormones in Obesity: Why Men and Women Gain Weight DifferentlyJune 12, 2024
Silent Killer: How a Young Mother’s Vision Loss Led to a Lung Cancer DiagnosisJune 12, 2024
TruAlt Bioenergy’s subsidiary, Leafiniti Bioenergy supplies over 1000 tons of Compressed Biogas to AG&P Pratham in just 5 monthsJune 11, 2024
Southeast Asia's Most Advanced Luxury Postpartum Centre Re'Joy Suites Opens in SingaporeJune 11, 2024
Poor Muscle Health in Obesity Can be A Major Risk Factor for Early DeathJune 11, 2024
Machine Learning Uncovers How Organ Ageing Impacts Health and LongevityJune 11, 2024
Why Education is Essential for Health and LongevityJune 11, 2024
New Study Reveals Antidepressant Withdrawal Symptoms Less Common but Still SignificantJune 10, 2024