New covid vaccines may be available by September

India can expect as many as six new vaccines by September: Dr Narendra Kumar Arora, Chairman National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization.

The third wave is expected to hit the country by September, but this time India will be more prepared than before to tackle the virus. The centre is advised to prepare for at least 5 lakh cases on daily basis and the country has already ramped up the vaccination.

The good news is that India can expect up to 6 new vaccines to help it fight against the Coronavirus. One of the 6 vaccines in the pipeline is the world’s first DNA-plasmid vaccine by Zydus-Cadilla, which is made in India. The target of Health Ministry is setting a target to vaccinate around 1 crore people daily.

In a statement released to the media, from excerpts of an interview to the Department of Science and Technology’s ‘Indian Science Channel’, Dr Arora, chairman of Covid-19 Working Group of the NTAGI, said, “The trials are quite encouraging. We are hopeful that they will be available by September.” Along with Zydus’s vaccine, the country is also expecting Biological E’s protein subunit vaccine. According to NTAGI, Biological E’s made-in-India vaccine is expected to have 90 per cent efficacy against Covid-19 and is likely to be a game-changer in the fight against the pandemic. The vaccine, called Corbevax, is similar to the Novavax vaccine, which is more than 90% effective, including against the SARS-CoV-2 variants.

Meanwhile, HGCO19, India’s first mRNA vaccine manufactured by Pune-based Genova in collaboration with Seattle-based HDT Biotech Corporation, using bits of genetic code to cause an immune response, and which can be stored in a temperature range of 2-80 Celsius, may also be available by September. The other two vaccines, are Novavax (known as Covovax in India) by Serum Institute of India and Johnson & Johnson, which are scheduled to be approved by then. Dr Arora said the production capacity of Bharat Biotech and SII will be increased phenomenally by the third week of July. “By August, we expect to procure 30-35 crore doses a month. This will enable us to vaccinate one crore persons a day,” he said.

On the efficacy of the new vaccines, he said there is very little chance of severe disease, and death after vaccination is negligible. “If the efficacy is 80%, then 20% of the vaccinated may contract mild Covid. The vaccines available in India are capable of reducing the spread of the virus. If 60-70% of people are vaccinated, the spread of the virus can be checked,” he noted.

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