Pharmaceutical major Zydus Cadila will supply one crore doses of its three-shot coronavirus vaccine, ZyCov-D, by October, group’s managing director Sharvil Patel said on Saturday. This came a day after India’s drug regulator granted emergency use authorisation to ZyCov-D.
Patel said the company planned to supply about 30 lakh to 40 lakh doses of ZyCov-D vaccine by September. He added that they aimed to up the supply to 3 crore to 4 crore by December.
This is the world’s first DNA vaccine against the coronavirus disease. It makes use of a portion of the genetic code – deoxyribonucleic acid or ribonucleic acid – in the SARS-CoV-2 virus to stimulate an immune response against its spike protein, according to the Ahmedabad-headquartered company. Spike proteins are small bumps on the viruses of the coronavirus family that assist in the infection.
The vaccine can be administered to all children and adults aged 12 and above. It is also the first Covid-19 vaccine that can be administered to children above the said age limit. Earlier in July, the company had said that the shot is “needle-free” and “safe for children”.
The price of each dose is likely to be announced in a week or two. “We will work closely with the Indian regulatory authority on vaccine pricing,” said Patel. “In one to two weeks we will have an answer.”
Patel said Zydus Cadila will supply the vaccine to the government as well as the private sector. The government has blocked 75% of the production capacity at present.
The company has set up a new manufacturing plant in Ahmedabad to scale-up the production.
Close to 50 lakh vaccines have been stocked at their facilities. “They will go through testing and various clearances before we start supply in September,” Patel said.
The vaccine can be stored under 25 degree Celsius for at least three months. “This will break the cold chain challenges we often see in India,” Patel said. The three-dose vaccine is to be administered over 56 days.
The interim results of the phase 3 trials of the vaccine showed an efficacy of 66.6% against symptomatic cases and 100% against moderate infection. The trial was conducted on 28,000 volunteers, including 1,400 adolescents.
In July, the company had said that its Phase 3 trials were conducted when the second wave of the pandemic hit India, showing its efficacy against new mutants, especially the Delta variant of the virus. But, it did not mention its efficacy against those strains.
“The efficacy in adolescents was found similar to adults,” Patel said on Saturday. “Since our trials began April and May onwards, and Delta variant dominated most Covid cases, the vaccine shows efficacy against this variant. The few breakthrough infections we recorded were of Delta variant.”
Zydus Cadila has also expressed interest to partner with other companies and share the vaccine technology. Major raw material and applicator for the vaccine have been imported from the United States of America and Singapore.
ZyCov-D is the second indigenously developed Covid-19 vaccine and the sixth one to be granted approval for emergency use in India. The other five are Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, Serum Institute of India’s Covishield, Russia-made Sputnik V and shots developed by United States-based Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.