1 min read.Updated: 05 Jan 2021, 02:24 PM IST Written By Anulekha Ray
'Covishield is highly effective vaccine against novel coronavirus,' said Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer, Serum Institute of India
The first 100 million doses of Covishield were being sold to the Indian government at a special price of ₹200, Poonawalla said
India on Sunday approved the emergency authorisation of two vaccines against novel coronavirus — Covaxin by Bharat Biotech and Covishield by Serum Institute of India. Earlier, Britain and Argentina had approved the emergency marker use of coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca. Serum Institute of India, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, joined hands with British-Swedish drugmaker to produce 1 billion doses of its COVID-19 vaccine. The local version of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will be known as Covishield.
The 'virus-vectored' vaccine uses a weakened version of a chimpanzee common coldvirus that encodes instructions for making proteins from the novel coronavirus to generate an immune response and prevent infection. Researchers claim the vaccine protected against disease in 62% of those given two full doses and in 90% of those initially given a half dose.
Compared to the vaccines by United States drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna, Covishield is "logistically feasible for distribution in the country's both urban and rural parts as it can be stored at two to eight degrees celsius."
"Covishield is highly effective vaccine against novel coronavirus," Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer, Serum Institute of India earlier mentioned. The company has made 50 million doses of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine. The British laboratory announced in interim findings in November that its vaccine was on average 70% effective.
India will be given first priority for the delivery of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, Poonawalla earlier said. "The COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed initially in India, then we will look at the COVAX countries which are mainly in Africa. Our priority is India & COVAX countries," Poonawalla added. "The United Kingdom and European markets are being taken care of by AstraZeneca and Oxford," he further mentioned.
"The first 100 million doses of Covishield were being sold to the Indian government at a “special price" of 200 rupees ($2.74) per dose, after which prices would be higher. The vaccine will be sold on the private market at 1,000 rupees ($13.68) per dose," Poonawalla told in an interview with the Associated Press.