Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive officer of Serum Institute of India, on Saturday said that his company was hoping to launch another coronavirus vaccine, Covovax, by September this year.
In a tweet, Poonawalla announced that the trials for the vaccine have started in India. The Serum Institute and the Indian Council of Medical Research have collaborated to manufacture Covovax, which is developed by United States vaccine company Novavax.
In January, the Serum Institute sought the Drugs Controller General of India’s approval to conduct a small domestic trial of the Covovax. Days later, Poonawalla had said that he hoped to launch the vaccine by June 2021. In July last year, Novavax had signed a deal with the Serum Institute to produce 200 crore doses of the vaccine.
While Poonawalla said in his tweet that the vaccine has shown 89% efficacy, a recent trial in the United Kingdom has shown that its efficiency went up to 96.4% against the original strain of coronavirus. However, in case of the South African strain, the efficiency came at 48.6%.
The Serum Institute is already bulk producing Covishield, one of the two vaccines approved by Indian authorities for emergency use.
Earlier this week, the Centre announced that all citizens above the age of 45, will be eligible for the jabs in the third phase of vaccination, starting from April 1. India had begun the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines on January 16, with a target of inoculating 30 crore people by July.
Till 3.30 pm on Saturday, more than 5.80 crore vaccine shots have been administered in India, while over 83 lakh people have received both doses, according to the official data. Meanwhile on Saturday, India reported 62,258 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours, pushing its overall count to 1,19,08,910. With 291 more deaths, the country’s toll rose to 1,61,240.