New Delhi, Sep 29 : A further collaboration among the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, Gavi and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will accelerate the manufacture and delivery of up to 100 million doses of safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines for India and low-and middle income countries.
In August, Novavax signed a deal with Pune-based Serum Institute to produce a minimum of one billion doses of its vaccine candidate for low-and middle-income countries and India.
However, as a part of the expanded agreement, Serum Institute will also manufacture the antigen component of NVX‑CoV2373, Novavax’ COVID‑19 vaccine candidate.
“Today’s agreement with Serum Institute enhances Novavax’ commitment to equitable global delivery of our COVID-19 vaccine. With this arrangement, we have now put in place a global supply chain that includes the recently acquired Praha Vaccines and partnerships with leading biologics manufacturers, enabling production on three continents,” said Stanley C. Erck, President and Chief Executive Officer of Novavax.
“We continue to work with extraordinary urgency to develop our vaccine, now in Phase 2 clinical trials, and for which we anticipate starting Phase 3 efficacy trials around the world in the coming weeks,” the company said in a statement.
US-based Novavax’s vaccine is in mid-stage trials after an early-stage trial showed it produced high levels of antibodies against the novel coronavirus.
Serum is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by number of doses produced and sold globally (more than 1.3 billion doses). It is estimated that about 65% of the children in the world receive at least one vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute. Vaccines manufactured by Serum are accredited by the World Health Organization, Geneva and are being used in approximately 170 countries across the globe.
Moreover, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and SII have also partnered for clinical development of a glycoprotein subunit nanoparticle adjuvanted vaccine developed by Novavax.
The trial will be initiated in the second half of October after the vaccine is manufactured by SII. The trial is led by ICMR-National AIDS Research Institute (NARI), Pune.
Meanwhile, at a Union Health Ministry briefing on the prevailing Covid-19 situation in the country, an ICMR official said three vaccines are at the clinical trial stage in India.
“Cadila and Bharat Biotech have completed phase-I trials. Serum Institute has completed phase II-B3 trials, and will start phase-III trial (with 1,500 patients at 14 locations) after clearances,” said Balram Bhargava, DG, ICMR.
Apart from Novavax-SII trials, other drugmakers such as Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc have already begun large late-stage studies of their experimental vaccines.