Covishield and Covaxin, India’s two COVID-19 vaccine: All you need to know about

Covishield and Covaxin, India’s two COVID-19 vaccine; All you need to know about

Vaccines by Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India (SII) were formally approved by the Central Drugs and Standards Committee (CDSCO).

The Drugs Controller General of India formally approved two vaccines for restricted use under emergency conditions: Covishield by the Serum Institute of India (SII), and Covaxin by Bharat Biotech.

♦Covishield

  • Covishield is the Indian variant of AZD1222, the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and University of Oxford. Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) developed and manufactured Covishield through a licence from AstraZeneca and Oxford.
  • A strong effectiveness of up to 90% for the jointly-developed COVID-19 vaccine candidate, AZD1222 has been reported by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca.
  • The declaration clears the way for the British company and its Indian contract manufacturer, the Serum Institute of India, to go to the drug regulators in their own countries for an emergency license.
  • The vaccine will be introduced under the brand ‘Covishield’ in India, and other low- and middle-income nations by the Serum Institute of India. 

More Insight into the Covishield

  • Two different dosing treatments were tried by Oxford and AstraZeneca. One treatment gave an effectiveness of 90% when AZD1222 was administered as a half dose followed by a full dose a month later.
  • The second treatment displayed 62% effectiveness when two full doses were given at an interval of a month. The average effectiveness was 70%.

 Pricing of the vaccine:

  • COVAX facility—a WHO-backed facility created to guarantee unbiased worldwide access to covid-19 vaccinesat $3 per dose, or around ₹220, made a deal with SERUM INSTITUTE OF INDIA to provide 200 million doses to it.
  • The vaccine will be provided to the Indian government at a comparable rate by the SERUM INSTITUTE OF INDIA.
  • It is not clear so far whether the private hospitals will be permitted. If permitted, the vaccine’s price will be ₹500-600 / dose.

♦Covaxin

  • Bharat Biotech has developed inactivated virus vaccine, Covaxin, which is the 2nd vaccine which was launched.
  • Covaxin, developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the National Institute of Virology, uses a different platform.
  • Covaxin has been developed based on an inactivated Sars-CoV-2 strain cultured at the National Institute of Virology, an ICMR body.

More Insight into the Covaxin

  • Covaxin is an “inactivated” vaccine, which means it uses the killed SARS-CoV-2 virus, which has no potential to infect or replicate once injected and just serves to boost an immune response.
  • Covaxin is expected to target more than just the spike protein — it also aims to develop an immune response to the nucleocapsid protein (the shell of the virus that encloses its genetic material).
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Who will be the first in line?

The government has prepared a priority group list.

  • Healthcare workers, including doctors, paramedics, and nurses, will be the 1st to get the vaccine.
  • After that frontline workers such as essential service providers will get the vaccine.
  • After that in line are groups at the maximum risk of mortality, like the elderly and those with co-morbidities.

CEO of Serum Institute of India expects that after March or April 2021 only, the rest of the population will be vaccinated.

About other vaccines:

There are 2 vaccines likely to be launched:

  1. Zydus Cadila is also expected to launch its three-dose DNA plasmid vaccine.
  2. Russia’s Sputnik V, based on the human adenovirus platform, is expected around April 2021.

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From all these vaccines’ launch, can we say that COVID-19 can be defeated?

  • Honestly, we don’t tell so far. Despite the fact that there are many uncertainties, the initial signs are positive.
  • It’s a great accomplishment to grow a vaccine so fast.
  • Now, a lot will depend on vaccine distribution, and what we observe from the initial recipients.

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