Empty vials of Biological-E's covid vaccine Corbevax. (Photo: Biological-E/File)
New Delhi: India's third homegrown COVID-19 vaccine Corbevax is safe and offers good immunogenicity and higher antibody levels than some other vector vaccines, said Dr N K Arora, Chairman, India's COVID-19 Working group of National Technical Advisory Group on immunisation (NTAGI).
The NTAGI chief's remarks came after the Drugs Controller General of India's Subject Expert Committee (SEC) recommended Emergency Use Authorization to Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical company Biological E's COVID-19 vaccine, Corbevax, for the age group 12 to 18 years subject to certain conditions.
The country's central drug authority is expected to give final approval to Corbevax, which is a two-dose vaccine, soon, sources had said.
In an interview with ANI, Dr N K Arora said, "Protein subunit vaccines are safe vaccines, the immunogenicity is very good and local reactions are also less as compared to some of the other vaccines like vector vaccine or mRNA vaccine. Another very important dimension about this vaccine is that compared to some of the vector vaccines, the antibody levels are much higher."
"Corbevax is called a protein subunit and currently we have an example of hepatitis B vaccine which is also similarly a protein subunit vaccine. Corbevax and the other vaccine in India, we have Covovax from Serum Institute. So, we have now these two vaccines and Corbevax yesterday as we know that it has been approved for children 12 to 18 years."
Dr Arora also said that the Corbevax vaccine worked well on even heterologous groups during clinical trials.
"When this is given as a heterologous boost, it works very well. So I would say Corbevax, as a protein subunit vaccine, is a very welcome addition to the Indian vaccine scenario for COVID."
"Production turnaround of Corbevax is very less and it is not very expensive. Its temperature requirement is like any other vaccines (2-8 degrees) and they can be used in our usual childhood immunization settings also without any difficulty."
The NTAGI chief said the vaccine has shown "more activity" against Delta in comparison to Omicron.
The Government of India has placed an order with Hyderabad-based Pharmaceutical company Biological E for five crore doses of 'Corbevax' COVID-19 vaccine with each dose costing Rs 145, said sources.
The Centre had earlier placed an order for 30 crore Corbevax doses on August 21 last year, they added.