What We Know About New Covid Vaccines

India approved two new vaccines, expanding its program amid fears of a third wave fueled by Omicron. The new vaccines, Covovax from the Serum Institute of India and Corbevax from Biological E, have been licensed .

India has already approved eight vaccines, three of which have been developed in India. The country has so far administered more than 1.4 billion doses. The government aimed to vaccinate all Indians by the end of this year, but it falls short of that goal. About 62% of eligible adults have been fully vaccinated and more than 90% have received at least one needle stick since the start of the campaign in January.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India would start giving booster injections, or “precautionary doses,” as he called them, to front-line and healthcare workers, and those over 60 . He said India would also start vaccinating between 15 and 18 years old. years as of January 3. India’s daily case number is around 6,000, but Omicron variant cases, around 653 now, have risen in several states, leading to nighttime curfews and a host of other restrictions.

It is not yet clear whether the newly approved vaccines will be used for booster shots or whether the government will insist that the third vaccine be the same as the first two. Corbevax from Indian pharmaceutical company Biological E was developed in collaboration with US-based Dynavax and Baylor College of Medicine. The vaccine was more than 90% effective in a US-based late-stage clinical trial, according to the company.

It is the first recombinant protein subunit vaccine developed in India, said Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya. That is, it is composed of the “spike protein” of the coronavirus, which the virus uses to adhere to and enter human cells. When injected, it is expected to trigger an immune response in the body. Covovax is a local version of the Novavax vaccine and will be produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII), which also makes the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab, known locally as Covishield.

It currently uses only three: Covishield, Covaxin from the Indian firm Bharat Biotech and Russian-made Sputnik V, for its vaccination campaign. Of these, Covishield represents more than 90% of the doses administered so far. It also approved the ZyCoV-D vaccine, the world’s first DNA vaccine against Covid, from Indian firm Cadilla, but it is not yet available. The federal government had also approved Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine.