Indigenously-developed Bharat Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin neutralises multiple variants of SARS-CoV-2. Covaxin also effectively neutralises the double mutant strain as well, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said today.
“ICMR study shows #COVAXIN neutralises against multiple variants of SARS-CoV-2 and effectively neutralises the double mutant strain as well,” ICMR said in a tweet.
ICMR-National Institute of Virology has successfully isolated and cultured multiple variants of concern of SARS-CoV-2 virus: B.1.1.7 (the UK variant), B.1.1.28 (Brazil variant ) and B.1.351 (South Africa variant).
ICMR-NIV has demonstrated the neutralisation potential of Covaxin against the UK variant and Brazil variant, the apex health research body said.
ICMR-NIV recently has been successful in isolating and culturing the double mutant strain B.1.617 SARS-CoV-2 identified in certain regions of India and several other countries, the ICMR stated.
“Covaxin has been found to effectively neutralise the double mutant strain as well,” it said.
Meanwhile, Serum Institute of India (SII) has fixed the price of Covishield vaccine at ₹600 per dose for private hospitals and ₹400 per jab for state governments, the company said in a release.
From May 1, the government has opened vaccination for all people above 18 years of age. India started its vaccination drive on January 16 with priority given to all healthcare and frontline workers in the first phase. The second phase started on March 1 where doses were administered to people above the age of 60 and those between 45 and 59 years with specific comorbidities.
Now, India has three vaccines Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V for its inoculation programme against COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Bharat Biotech will produce 30 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin, next month against 15 million doses in March to support vaccination campaign in the country, its chairman and managing director Krishna Ella said on Tuesday. The vaccine maker in a statement has said that the company has ramped up its production capacity of Covaxin to 700 million doses per annum.
The comments have come at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi has exhorted vaccine makers to scale up their production capacity to inoculate all Indians in the shortest possible time. The government has also approved a payment of about ₹4,500 crore as advance to vaccine makers like Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech against future supplies.