Moderna In India: All You Need To Know About The COVID-19 Vaccine

Cipla is importing the vaccine only on the basis of donation and has not yet signed a commercial deal with the US company

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, soon to be launched in India, will be available at a select few hospitals that have the ultra-cold-storage equipment required to store this mRNA vaccine. These hospitals will be chosen by the government in collaboration with Cipla who is undertaking the responsibility of importing the vaccine to the country.

This mRNA vaccine has an efficacy of 94 per cent making it one of the most effective COVID-19 vaccines. It is one of the two US based vaccines using mRNA technology to attack SARS-CoV-2 and neutralise its effect.

Both the Moderna and the Pfizer vaccine use the mRNA technology for the first time in vaccinating humans. While this technology has showed positive results in animal trials against influenza virus, Zika virus, rabies virus, it is only now that these vaccines are being administered to humans.

Where Will Indians Get Moderna?

The Drugs Controller General of India approved the Moderna vaccine for emergency use authorisation in India on June 29, 2021. It approved the vaccine without an India based clinical trial, according to its June order permitting the same. The importing pharma company Cipla, will have to conduct a seven-day safety follow-up of the first 100 recipients.

The vaccine is stable at room temperatures of 2 to 8ºC for close to 30 days making it easier to be transported. However, the vaccine needs ultra-cold-temperatures of at least -20ºC for long term storage. The Indian government will thus give the first available batch to selected hospitals with the necessary cold storage equipment.

How Many Doses Will India Get?

The US government announced that it will be donating its COVID-19 vaccines for countries that are in throes of a COVID-19 wave and do not have the requisite tools to fight the pandemic. It included India on the basis of its population and the second wave that was at its peak in the months of April and May in the country.

The Biden administration announced that it would be donating close to 25 million vaccine doses. There, however, has been no clear classification as to which of the available vaccines will be sent to India.

While Moderna is collaborating with Cipla, there has been no formal announcement on the number of doses that India will receive.

What Will The Vaccine Cost?

As Cipla has signed a deal as an importing partner for the intended donation, and not as a commercial partner, these vaccines will be routed through the health ministry. If Cipla decides to strike a commercial deal with the US-based manufacturer, then Indians could expect to pay for the vaccine.

How Effective Is The Vaccine?

Moderna's mRNA vaccine was found to be 94.5 per cent effective against SARS-CoV-2 and is also successful in nullifying and reducing the effects of the variants that the virus has mutated into. This two-dosage vaccine is supposed to be administered within a span of 28 days.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that there have been close to 780 reports of inflammations around the heart as of June 28 after receiving an mRNA vaccine from over 311 million people who received either the Pfizer-BioNtech or Moderna vaccine. They have not categorised which vaccine actually caused the inflammations and do not believe that there is a causal relationship between the two incidents.

The mRNA vaccine when taken in the upper arm muscle, instructs the cells to mimic SARS-CoV-2 and make the Spike protein. After the spike protein is expressed on the targeted cells, the body elicits an immune response against it, thus creating antibodies.


Updated On: 2021-07-05T18:20:02+05:30
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