Serum Institute delays expected launch of Novavax vaccine in India

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The India launch of a new COVID-19 vaccine jointly developed by the Serum Institute of India and US-based biotech firm Novavax is likely to be delayed until September, the head of the the Indian company.

FILE PHOTO: A Novavax logo is reflected in a drop on a syringe needle in this illustration taken on November 9, 2020. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration

Adar Poonawalla, Serum’s chief executive, said in January that the vaccine, called Corovax, was expected to be released in June.

On Saturday, Poonawalla said Corovax testing had begun in India, but did not say why the launch of the vaccine was delayed.

“It has been tested against African and British variants of # COVID19 and is 89% effective overall,” tweeted Poonawalla, whose Serum Institute is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer.

“We hope to launch it in September 2021!”

Poonawalla said earlier this month that a temporary U.S. ban on exports of critical raw materials could limit the production of coronavirus vaccines like Novavax.

India, the world’s largest vaccine maker, said on Friday it would prioritize domestic COVID-19 inoculations amid rising coronavirus cases and had communicated its decision to international buyers.

The South Asian nation, which has exported 60.5 million females, has not banned exports entirely.

India has injected 58.1 million doses of vaccines, the third highest number after the United States and Brazil, although much lower as a proportion of its population of 1.35 billion.

On Saturday, former Indian cricket captain Sachin Tendulkar said he had contracted the coronavirus as the country reported 62,258 new infections in the previous 24 hours, its highest daily rate since October, bringing his count to 11, 91 million.

The death toll from the pandemic rose by 291 to 161,240.

Report from Sankalp Phartiyal; Edited by Jan Harvey


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