Serum Institute of India (SII) has started manufacturing the first batch of the Covovax Covid-19 vaccine from Friday at its Manjari facility in Pune. Covovax has been developed by US biotech company Novavax. SII has a collaboration with Novavax for manufacturing the vaccine for India and other low income countries. This is the second vaccine to be manufactured by SII after the Oxford AztraZeneca Covishield vaccine.
Adar Poonawalla, CEO, SII, who has returned to India from the UK and witnessed the first batch being manufactured, said a new milestone had been reached with the manufacturing of Covovax.
“The vaccine has great potential to protect our future generations below the age of 18,” Poonawalla said.
Covovax is expected to be launched in the country in September 2021. SII has committed to supply 20 crore Novavax vaccines between September and December 2021. Trials are going on in the country and have reached an advance stage. SII will also be starting Covovax trials on children from July 2021. The company will start stockpiling the Covovax vaccine in anticipation of regulatory clearance soon.
The vaccine has demonstrated 90% overall efficacy and 100% protection against moderate and severe disease Covid cases. It also has 93% efficacy against predominantly circulating variants of concern and variants of interest.
SII’s tie-up with Novavax is to manufacture one billion doses of the vaccine in 2021. Serum has got exclusive rights for the vaccine in India and non-exclusive rights during the pandemic period in all countries excluding upper-middle/high-income countries. Both partners will be having a revenue sharing arrangement. With the SII agreement, Novavax had planned to have a global production capacity of two billion doses annually. The Gates Foundation has also provided $150 million to SII for manufacturing both the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Novavax vaccine in India.