Hope to launch Novavax’s Covovax by June: Serum’s Adar Poonawalla

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The Serum Institute of India is planning to launch its second COVID vaccine, Covovax, in partnership with American firm Novavax, June this year, CEO Adar Poonawalla tweeted on Saturday. He said that with Covovax showing excellent efficacy results, SII has applied to start trials in India.

The statement comes a day after the vaccine undergoing trials for effectiveness against the novel coronavirus became the first immune dose to definitively confirm protection against the new variant of the deadly virus which was detected in the UK late last year. A late-stage clinical trial involving over 15,000 people in the UK found that the vaccine produced by American firm Novavax is 89.3 per cent effective in preventing coronavirus and offered 85.6 per cent protection against the new British strain of COVID-19, which is up to 70 per cent more transmissible.A smaller, separate trial also showed that it was about 60 per cent effective against the South African variant, despite concerns that this strain may not respond to vaccines.

The Novavax vaccine also requires two doses, like the other vaccines being administered to the most vulnerable groups. NVX-CoV2373 contains a full-length, prefusion spike protein made using Novavax’ recombinant nanoparticle technology and the company’s proprietary saponin-based Matrix-M adjuvant.

The purified protein is encoded by the genetic sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 [COVID-19] spike (S) protein and is produced in insect cells. It can neither cause COVID-19 nor can it replicate. It is stable at 2 degrees Celsius to 8 degrees Celsius (refrigerated) and is shipped in a ready-to-use liquid formulation that permits distribution using existing vaccine supply chain channels.

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