All you need to know about Biological-E’s Covid vaccine

All you need to know about Biological-E’s Covid-19 vaccine

India’s second indigenous vaccine could come a lot cheaper than existing jabs

Developed jointly with Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, the vaccine candidate has been nurtured by the Centre since the early stages of its development. Credit; AFP Photo

Hyderabad-based Biological-E is all set to hand India its second homegrown Covid-19 vaccine after striking a deal with the union government to earmark 30 crore doses to be available in the near future.

Developed jointly with Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, the vaccine candidate has been nurtured by the Centre since the early stages of its development through more than Rs 100 crore in funding from the Department of Biotechnology, which also assisted in conducting all animal challenge and assay studies.

What is the Biological-E vaccine?

The vaccine uses recombinant-protein technology, which involves inserting DNA encoding an antigen to stimulate an immune response in cells that usually beefs up existing immunity. It is a two-dose vaccine that has to be administered through an intramuscular injection 28 days apart.

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When will the vaccine be available?

The vaccine’s third phase trial began about 40 days ago at 15 sites across the country on more than a thousand participants between the ages of 18 and 80. The trial could take at least another two months to complete, at the end of which the results will be submitted to the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation, sources have told DH.

The vaccine rollout will likely begin earliest by August.

How much will the vaccine cost?

The government will make an advance payment of Rs 1,500 crore for 30 crore doses, which works out to an advance of Rs 50 per dose. This is far cheaper than the Rs 150 that the government pays per dose of Covishield and Covaxin. 

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Though the price of the vaccine has not been disclosed as yet, the company’s Managing Director Mahima Datla recently told The Times of India that it would be one of the most affordable vaccines in the market.

Is the vaccine safe?

Since the vaccine is still undergoing stage 3 trials, there is no available efficacy data at the moment. However, the government has said that Biological-E’s proposal had been examined and recommended for approval after due diligence by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19.