As India reaches 100 crore vaccinations, a look at its basket of COVID-19 vaccines


New Delhi: As India achieved the milestone of vaccinating over 100 crore citizens on Thursday, we take look at the basket of vaccines developed, manufactured or in use in the country.

To prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, India started its vaccination drive on January 16 this year. At that time, only two vaccines, namely, Covaxin and Covishield were available. India has granted Emergency Use Authorization to six COVID vaccines till date.

Three vaccines have been in emergency use namely, Covishield (Oxford AstraZeneca’s vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India), Covaxin (manufactured by Bharat Biotech Limited) and Sputnik V (developed by Gamaleya Research Institute, Russia).

Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has also granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to three other vaccines by Moderna, Johnson and Johnson and Zydus Cadila, two of which are expected to help ramp up the vaccination drive by October-November.

On January 3, India approved COVID-19 vaccines Covishield and Covaxin for emergency use.

India’s first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin has been developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-National Institute of Virology (NIV).

As per the official statement by Bharat Biotech, Covaxin demonstrated 77.8 per cent vaccine efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 disease, through evaluation of 130 confirmed cases, with 24 observed in the vaccine group versus 106 in the placebo group. The efficacy against severe symptomatic COVID-19 disease is shown to be 93.4 per cent. The efficacy data demonstrates 63.6 per cent protection against asymptomatic COVID-19.

On October 12, the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the drug regulator recommended granting an emergency use authorisation to Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for children aged between 2-18 years as well. The SEC has submitted its recommendation to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for final approval. Covaxin is also in the process of getting approval from the World Health Organization.

In India, Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine, Covishield, is being manufactured locally by the Serum Institute of India (SII). The vaccine is made from a weakened version of a common cold virus (known as an adenovirus) from chimpanzees. Notably, this vaccine has been approved by WHO.

Both Covishield and Covaxin have been exported to countries with agreements signed between the vaccine makers and the recipient nations, and the rest under the Covax initiative, which is led by the World Health Organization (WHO). India may accelerate the export of COVID-19 vaccines under its humanitarian initiative ‘Vaccine Maitri’ by December, sources said. ‘Vaccine Maitri’ is an initiative that was started by the Government of India to provide COVID-19 vaccines to countries around the world.

The third vaccine approved by the DGCI for EUA was Sputnik V. On April 13, the DCGI approved the use of the Sputnik V vaccine, according to the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). According to the medical journal Lancet, Sputnik V is 91.6 per cent effective in protecting against COVID-19. Vaccine distributor Dr Reddy’s Laboratories in September said that the two doses of Sputnik V vaccine should be taken at the same hospital. The pharma company also informed that the two vaccines must have a gap of 21 days. “In India, Sputnik V vaccine is administered in two doses with a 21-day gap. Both doses of the vaccine should be taken from the same hospital,” Dr Reddy’s said in a statement.

Additionally, the Central government on June 29 granted EUA to US-based pharma company Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, mRNA-1273, making it the fourth such vaccine to be approved in the country.

Further, on August 7, US pharma giant Johnson and Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine Janssen received EUA in India, said Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.
“India expands its vaccine basket! Johnson and Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine is given approval for Emergency Use in India. Now India has 5 EUA vaccines. This will further boost our nation’s collective fight against COVID-19,” the Minister tweeted then.

The pharma company had stated that it was an important milestone that paved the way to bringing single-dose COVID-19 vaccine to the people of India, and the rest of the world, in a collaboration with Biological E. Limited.

Johnson and Johnson’s statement read, “The EUA submission is based on topline efficacy and safety data from the Phase 3 clinical trial ENSEMBLE, which demonstrated our single-shot vaccine was 85 per cent effective in preventing severe disease across all regions studied, and showed protection against COVID-19 related hospitalisation and death, beginning 28 days after vaccination.”
The latest addition in this basket of vaccines is ZyCoV-D, developed by Indian vaccine giant Zydus Cadila.

The Ahmedabad-based pharma company announced that it received EUA from DCGI for India’s second indigenous vaccine, ZyCoV-D on August 20. It is the world’s first plasmid DNA vaccine for COVID-19. ZyCoV-D is a three-dose vaccine that will be administered on day zero, day 28th and then on the 56th day. ZyCoV-D, is a needle-free vaccine administered using the PharmaJet, a needle-free applicator, which ensures painless intradermal vaccine delivery. This is for the first time that a technologically advanced vaccine has been successfully developed on the plasmid DNA platform for human use. As many as 60 lakh doses of Zydus Cadila’s three-dose COVID-19 vaccine ZyCoV-D are ready after production for India, said government sources.

By next year, India will have a capacity of more than 30 crores per month, which includes Covishield, Covaxin, ZyCoV-D and Biological E, sources told ANI.

Meanwhile, the government is expecting Biological E to submit data of Phase 3 trials till November end, as per official sources. Next year India will also have its own mRNA vaccine for COVID-19 which is under trial and developed by Gennova company.

Corbevax, developed by Biological E, will be the third made-in-India vaccine against Coronavirus, along with the other two indigenous vaccines, Covaxin and ZyCoV-D. (ANI)