"The technology is being used under this licensing agreement with Kansas-based ViroVax LLC. COVAXIN is an inactivated vaccine derived from a strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, isolated at the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, an Indian virology research institute. The inactivated virus is formulated with ViroVax's adjuvant to produce the vaccine candidate", the statement read.
The vaccine entered phase 2 clinical trials after receiving approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) at the end of June.
"There is a critical need for development and availability of adjuvants that elucidate mechanisms of action inducing greater antibody responses to vaccine antigens, thus resulting in long-term protection against pathogens. Adjuvants also enhance the sustainability of the global vaccine supply on account of their antigen-sparing effect. Our partnership with ViroVax resonates with Bharat Biotech's relentless efforts towards developing safe and effective vaccines coupled with long term immunity", Krishna Ella, the chairman and managing director of Bharat Biotech, was quoted as saying in the press release.
Other Indian pharmaceutical companies — the Serum Institute, Zydus Cadila, Panacea Biotec, Indian Immunologicals, Mynvax, and Biological E — are among the domestic firms developing a COVID-19 vaccine. Some of them have already entered phase 3 trials.
The South Asian nation is also expected to receive 100 million doses of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V by the end of the year.
India is second in terms of the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, after the United States, having a total of over 6.6 million cases.