Serum set to roll out another low-cost COVID vaccine in September

The Pune-based company has a pact with Novavax Inc to manufacture NVX-CoV2373, its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, in low and middle-income countries

World vaccine major, Serum Institute of India (SII), announced on Saturday (March 27) that clinical trials of a new COVID vaccine, Covovax, have started in India.

Serum CEO Adar Poonawalla said he hopes to launch the new, low-cost vaccine by September this year.

Poonawalla had said in January that Covovax will be launched by June. On Saturday he said the launch will now happen in September, without giving reasons for the delay.

In February, Poonawalla had said that a temporary U.S. ban on export of critical raw materials could limit the production of coronavirus vaccines such as Novavax.

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The Pune-based company had signed a licence agreement with US-based vaccine maker Novavax Inc in August last year for the manufacture of NVX-CoV2373, its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, in low and middle-income countries, including India.

Poonawalla took to Twitter to say that Covovax has been tested against African and UK variants of coronavirus and has an overall efficacy of 89%.

Novavax won’t introduce Covovax in high income countries.

Also read: WHO team visits Wuhan hospital that had early virus patients

In the last 24 hours, Maharashtra reported the highest daily new cases at 36,902. It is followed by Punjab with 3,122 while Chhattisgarh reported 2,665 new cases.

India’s total active caseload reached 4,52,647 on Saturday (march 27). The present active caseload now stands at 3.8% of India’s total positive cases.

Also read: Will sell Oxford vaccine at ₹1K if govt allows: Adar Poonawalla

Maharashtra, Kerala and Punjab cumulatively account for 73% of the total active cases in the country.

On the other hand, the total vaccination coverage in India has crossed 5.8-crore.

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