Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla said clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine Covovax have begun in India. The company hopes to launch it by September this year. In August 2020, US-based vaccine maker Novavax, Inc, announced a licence agreement with SII for the development and commercialisation of NVX-CoV2373, its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, in low and middle-income countries and India. “Covovax trials finally begin in India; the vaccine is made through a partnership with Novavax and SerumInstIndia. It has been tested against African and UK variants of #COVID19 and has an overall efficacy of 89 per cent. Hope to launch by September 2021!” Poonawalla said in a tweet.
The development and commercialisation pact between Novavax and SII excludes major upper-middle and high-income countries, for which Novavax continues to retain rights.
In January this year, Poonawalla had said SII expected to launch Covovax by June 2021
“Our partnership for a COVID-19 vaccine with @Novavax has also published excellent efficacy results. We have also applied to start trials in India. Hope to launch #COVOVAX by June 2021!”, Poonawalla had said in a tweet.
SII is already supplying AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield, in India and other countries worldwide.