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India drug manufacturing firm Shilpa Medicare has entered into an agreement with Cadila Healthcare to manufacture its three-dose Covid-19 vaccine ZyCoV-D, the company said in a statement on Friday.

As per a regulatory filing, the Shilpa Medicare has “entered into a definitive agreement with Cadila Healthcare Ltd (CHL) for production-supply of the ZyCov-D vaccine drug substance from its integrated Biologics R&D cum Manufacturing center at Dharwad, Karnataka."

The targeted production of the ZyCoV-D vaccine from this facility will be mutually agreed upon by both parties, it added.

"The company will transfer the ZyCoV-D technology to Shilpa Biologicals Pvt Ltd (SBPL). Under the agreement, SBPL will be responsible for the  manufacture of the drug substance of the vaccine, while the company is responsible for filling/packaging /distribution /marketing of the vaccine in its marketing territories," Cadila Healthcare said.

India's health authorities had given emergency approval in August for Cadila's vaccine, the world's first Covid-19 DNA shot, in adults and children aged 12 years and above.

About the vaccine 

ZyCoV-D is a plasmid DNA vaccine that produces the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 and elicits an immune response mediated by the cellular (T lymphocytes immunity) and humoral (antibody-mediated immunity) arms of the human immune system.

The vaccine has shown the efficacy of 66.6% against symptomatic Covid cases and 100% for moderate disease.

It is an intradermal vaccine, applied using a ‘needle-free injector’. Zydus claims the needle-free system can lead to a significant reduction in side effects.

The central government is hoping the vaccine to be available in early October, according to news agency ANI.

Recent reports had said that preparations are on to make Zydus Cadila's Covid-19 DNA vaccine available to people. Although the price is a "clear issue", a decision will be taken soon to make it a part of the country's vaccination programme, as per government officials. 

Responding to a question at a press conference, NITI Aayog member (health) Dr VK Paul said to bring Zydus Cadila's DNA vaccine in practical shape and implementation, preparations are going on and repeated discussions have been held.

"The price is also a clear issue. Talks are going on and a decision will soon be taken. With full preparation, it will become a part of the country's national vaccination programme. We are looking forward to receiving recommendations of the NTAGI on the beneficiary or target group to which the vaccine has to be given. The work is in progress and you will hear more about this in the times to come," he said.

 

 

 

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