A time to take relief Biological E.

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A time to take relief Biological E.
A Covishield vaccine being displayed. Biological E. is the new vaccine entrant on the block offering a reliable and cheaper option when production commences from August.Courtesy: ANI

Indian based company Biological E. is set to commence with phase III trials of its Covid-19 vaccine with plans to produce at least 75-80 million doses a month from August thus providing hope across India which is facing a vaccine crunch against a national roll-out.

In a development that could bring hope to the country as it fights against a deadly second pandemic wave domestic entity Biological E. Ltd is expected the start Phase III trials of its COVID-19 vaccine. The company has plans to produce at least 75 million to 80 million doses a month from August.

India had prepped for its national vaccine rollout which was due to enter a crucial stage from May 1, as adults below the age of 45 (or above the age of 18) would have been registered for the Liberalised and Accelerated Phase-3 Strategy of Covid-19 Vaccination. Over 911 million citizens were eligible for vaccination in this stage and the government was determined to make a success of the campaign in a bid to lower Covid-19 infection rates. Sadly, the programme could not reach the numbers targeted due to an acute shortfall.

Beneficiaries of the Covid-19 vaccine, above the age of 45 in India, outside a dispensary. The planned national vaccine rollout for those 45 years and under was hit by a shortage of vaccines thus affecting the numbers that were projected.
Beneficiaries of the Covid-19 vaccine, above the age of 45 in India, outside a dispensary. The planned national vaccine rollout for those 45 years and under was hit by a shortage of vaccines thus affecting the numbers that were projected.Courtesy: ANI

With the fortunes of the entire global economy at stake, following the huge number of infections in India, the global community was galvanised into action to assist the Narendra Modi administration in putting up a fight against rising infection and death rates.

The prospect of a new home-grown vaccine in the horizon should help uplift the morale of a country which is currently facing an acute vaccine shortfall.

Biological E. Ltd has developed the vaccine with Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and Dynavax Technologies Corp. Late last month it received approval from India's drug regulator to conduct a Phase III clinical trial.

Government officials have said the vaccine, which uses the recombinant-protein technology in which a harmless agent is used to stimulate an immune response in cells, could be rolled out in the country from August.

Beneficiaries above 18 years old wait for their turn to get the COVID19 vaccine, at Radha Swami Satsang (COVID-19 Vaccination Centre) in New Delhi. Over 911 million Indians were eligible for vaccination in this crucial stage.
Beneficiaries above 18 years old wait for their turn to get the COVID19 vaccine, at Radha Swami Satsang (COVID-19 Vaccination Centre) in New Delhi. Over 911 million Indians were eligible for vaccination in this crucial stage.Courtesy: ANI

Datla said Biological E. would apply for emergency use authorisation (EUA) for the drug based on government advice. The company has assured that even though the price for the vaccine has not been made public yet, it will be one of the more affordable vaccine on offer raising hopes that the company will not be taking advantage of the current crisis. There is speculation that the cost will probably be at around $1.5 per dose which is particularly heartening given that Covaxin, Covishield and Sputnik V are priced at around $10 globally.

India, battling the world's worst jump in coronavirus infections, has partially or fully immunized only about 10% of its 1.35 billion people. It has administered a total of 163 million doses of the AstraZeneca shot and a domestically made one called Covaxin.

The country has also received doses of the Sputnik V vaccine from Russia though it has not been launched yet in the country. India has also urged Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna to sell their shots to the country.

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