India Approves Two New COVID Vaccines Covovax and Corbevax, and Anti-Viral Drug Molnupiravir for Use
13:36 GMT 28.12.2021 (Updated: 10:41 GMT 19.07.2022)
A surge in the highly transmissible Omicron variant worldwide has rung alarms about a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. India's Omicron case tally stands at 653. Around 6,358 new cases, and 6,450 recoveries have been recorded in India in the last 24 hours since Monday, as per the Health Ministry. The active caseload currently stands at 75,456.
Indian Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday said that the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation has approved two new COVID vaccines - Covovax and Corbevax, as well as an anti-COVID pill - Molnupiravir, for restricted use in emergency situations in the country.
Health Minister Mandaviya took to Twitter and said that the approval of the new vaccines and the anti-viral drug would further strengthen the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
While Corbevax is touted as India's first indigenously developed RBD protein sub-unit vaccine against COVID-19 and will be made by the Biological-E laboratory in Hyderabad city, Covovax is a nanoparticle vaccine to be manufactured by the Pune city-based firm Serum Institute of India (SII).
The anti-viral drug Molnupiravir will be manufactured in the country by 13 companies for restricted use under emergency situations for the treatment of adult patients with COVID-19 and who have a high risk of progression of the disease, the federal minister added.
After the approval of two new vaccines, India is now developing three new vaccines, including Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, and the SII's Covishield.
A total of eight COVID-19 vaccines have so far received emergency use authorisation from India's drug regulator - Covishield, Covaxin, ZyCoV-D, Sputnik V, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Corbevax, and Covovax.
Before India, the US Food and Drug Administration and Britain granted approval to Merck's coronavirus anti-viral, Molnupiravir, which has reportedly been successful in treating mild-to-moderate COVID-19 cases in adults with risk of severe disease.
India's Dr Reddy's Laboratories, in a consortium with Cipla, Mylan, Torrent, Emcure, and Sun Pharma, presented their proposal for the approval of the anti-viral drug Molnupiravir for emergency situations.
From 10 January, India will start administering COVID-19 booster shots to healthcare, frontline workers, and those over 60 with comorbidities from 10 January.
Those aged 15-18 will start receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations from 3 January.
Due to a surge in the highly infectious Omicron variant in India, several state governments have imposed night curfews and imposed a ban on mass gatherings ahead of the New Year.