SII Working On Four More COVID-19 Vaccines

In addition to Covishield, Serum Institute of India (SII), the largest producer of vaccines in the world based on volumes, is working on four more vaccines against the novel coronavirus, as per its Executive Director, Suresh Jadhav, who shared this announcement during a webinar. He said that SII has been working on five vaccines against the novel coronavirus, including the Covishield, which got approval for emergency use roll-out for mass immunization drive, which began last Saturday.

“For one (vaccine) we have received emergency approval, three others are in different stages of clinical studies while one is in the pre-clinical stage of the trial,” he said.

SII has partnered with Novavax Inc to manufacture its potential Covid-19 vaccine for India and other countries. Under an agreement with the US drug developer, SII will develop two hundred crore doses of Novavax’s vaccine candidate annually, as also manufacture the antigen component of the vaccine. SII has also partnered with US-based Codagenix to manufacture and supply its coronavirus vaccines.

The firm’s first Covid vaccine is developed from the masterseed of AstraZeneca/Oxford University’s vaccine against the disease, which was approved by India’s drug regulator on 3rd January, 2021 for emergency use authorization along with Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.

However, some have criticised them for less transparent data in their clinical trials and receiving the approvals without completing the due process of drug licencing. Commenting on the criticism the vaccine manufacturers have been receiving for getting approvals without completing all the trials, Jadhav said that such chances have been taken earlier as well, citing examples of the Ebola outbreak in Africa, four years ago, where the vaccine was used while phase 2 trials were still ongoing; as well as in 2009, during the H1N1 pandemic flu, when the vaccine was administered before all the stages of clinical trial were completed.

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