Covovax Vaccine is the Indian version of a Covid19 vaccine developed by Novavax Inc. and manufactured under license from the Serum Institute of India (SII). It is a recombinant protein vaccine that uses spike proteins to teach the body how to build immunity to the new coronavirus.
Anurag Agrawal said Covovax is more effective than Covishield as a booster dose. However, he made it clear that more clinical studies are needed on how much resistance Novovax offers to the Omicron variant.
Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute of India, hopes Covovax, another COVID-19 vaccine his company makes, will be launched in October for adults and children by the first quarter of 2022.
Covovax is the brand name of Novavax, a US biotech company whose vaccines have yet to be launched in the US. In August last year, Novavax Inc. had a license agreement with SII to develop and commercialize Novavax in low and medium countries Income was announced as well in India.
The latter has committed to deliver 200 million doses of the Novavax vaccine between September and December. Here is everything you need to know about this highly anticipated vaccine.
Covovax Vaccine Efficacy Rate
Novavax is being evaluated in two approval-relevant phases 3 studies: a British study showing effectiveness of 96.4% against the original virus strain, 86.3% against the alpha strain, and showed an effectiveness percentage of 89.7% in general.
The PREVENT19 study in the US and Mexico showed 100 percent protection against moderate and severe illness and overall effectiveness of 90.4 percent.
It is also being tested in two ongoing Phase 2 studies that began in August 2020: a Phase 2b study in South Africa, which has an overall effectiveness of 55 percent in HIV-negative patients and effectiveness of 48.6 percent against one. The pop-up inhibition of another variant described for the first time was shown in South Africa.
A Phase 1/2 is activated in the USA and Australia. The data on the effectiveness against the Delta variant is not yet known.
According to a company statement published on August 6, a booster dose of Novavax is associated with a 4.6-fold increase in functional antibody titers (concentration).
Covovax for Children
As the highly contagious Delta variant spreads to communities across the country, parents are keen to get their children vaccinated. Several COVID19 vaccines are being studied for children in the US, with PfizerBioNTech and Moderna at the forefront.
Both companies started their studies of the COVID19 vaccine for children as young as six months in March and hope to announce the results by September.
Meanwhile, Johnson and Johnson are collecting data on their COVID19 vaccine ages 12-17 and hope to start studying soon between ages 2-11.
Novavax, on the other hand, recently expanded its late-stage study in the US to include pediatric patients and included more than 2,000 volunteers between the ages of 12 and 17.
In India, SII just last month received approval from DCGI to conduct phase 2/3 studies of Covovax in children 2-17 years of age with certain medical conditions.
920 children are to take part in the studies, 460 of them in the 12-17 age group at 10 locations.
Is It Better than other vaccine variants?
In its phase 3 study, Novavax has shown efficacy that is closer to that of PfizerBioNTech (91.3 percent) and Moderna (90 percent); however, it is slightly higher than Covishield (76 percent) and Covaxin (81 percent). Russia’s Sputnik V has a 91.6 percent success rate.
Dosage and Side Effects
The vaccination schedule requires two doses of 0.5 ml (5 micrograms of antigen and 50 micrograms of MatrixM adjuvant) administered intramuscularly 21 days apart.
Side effects after using Novavax were generally mild to moderate and short-lived. Injection site pain and tenderness, and fatigue, headache, and muscle pain were the most commonly reported adverse reactions. The incidence of serious adverse events was low.
Storage and Price
The vaccine is packaged as a ready-to-use liquid formulation in a ten-dose vial. The vaccine is stored between two and eight degrees Celsius, so that the existing cold chains and supply channels for vaccines can be used.
It comes at a tentative price of Rs 1,114 per dose, but Poonawalla recently said the price will be fixed at launch.
Implications for India
As SII committed to delivering 200 million doses of Covovax Vaccine between September and December and the government intended to deliver 20 million doses of the vaccine to Covishield, Covaxin, and Sputnik V in August and 25 million doses of the vaccine in September procure this is likely to meet their goal of vaccinating every adult in the country by the end of December.