Covaxin, India's indigenous COVID-19 vaccine, has entered the phase three trials according to Dr Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharat Biotech. Covaxin is being developed by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in partnership with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Speaking at a virtual conference organised by the Indian School of Business, Dr Ella told BOOM's Govindraj Ethiraj, "When the pandemic came, we partnered with ICMR for Covaxin. Covaxin has now entered the phase three trials." Dr Ella added that the vaccine is being developed in it's BSL3 (Biosafety level 3) production facility.
In October, Bharat Biotech had received the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI's) Subject Expert Committee (SEC) permission to conduct phase three trials of Covaxin after assessing data from the phase one and two trials.
Elaborating on it's efforts to find a vaccine, Dr Ella also revealed Bharat Biotech's plans on developing a nasal vaccine along the lines of it's rotavirus gastroenteritis vaccine, ROTAVAC.
"Our Covaxin production capacity is limited. But we are coming up with a different strategy using nasal drops which will be easier to deliver. Even the aanganwaadi worker in a village can deliver the vaccine," Dr Ella said.
"It (Covaxin) is a two-dose injectable vaccine. However, I'm not happy because if we want to vaccinate 1.3 billion people, we'll need 2.6 billion doses. We are also working on a single-dose vaccine which will be given through nasal drops. We have experience creating Rotavirus vaccine as a two-drop concept which is what we want to bring to the COVID-19 vaccine. My feeling is that we can reach 1.3 billion people by next year," he added said.
In September, Bharat Biotech had announced a licensing agreement with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis for a "novel chimp-adenovirus, single dose intranasal vaccine" for COVID-19.
Dr Ella also called on diplomatic support to ensure Indian vaccines and expertise can be shared with other countries. "We can partner with Bangladesh, Pakistan and African countries and also partner with domestic manufacturers to produce the vaccine so that the countries can be self-sustainable," he said.
Updated On: 2020-11-17T17:56:50+05:30