Dr. Krishna Ella, Chairman of Bharat Biotech today said the company is expecting significant data on its intranasal COVID-19 vaccine, in the next two and half months.
Speaking at FICCI Capital Markets Conference on 29th July, Dr. Ella said “In another two to two and a half months, we are going to have significant data,” he said, without committing to a timeline for the rollout of the vaccine, which is currently undergoing clinical trials in the country.
Touted to be a game-changer in the fight against the COVID19, and delta variants, the vaccine from the makers of COVAXIN promises to deliver compelling benefits, from being significantly effective, since it is expected to bring about immune responses at the site of infection (respiratory mucosa) to ease of administration and production. “It is also easy to scale it up, adding Bharat Biotech has the capacity to produce 100 million doses a month,” Dr. Ella stated at the FICCI Capital Markets Conference.
We are working on a nasal vaccine and we see it as a big gamechanger – Dr. Krishna Ella
The company is also awaiting permission to conduct clinical trials using a combination of COVAXIN and nasal vaccine doses to vaccinate. “We have applied for clinical [trial] permission,” he said, adding once the combination gets approved it could be a game-changer.
Our behaviour will determine if the third wave is going to come or not – Dr. Ella
Earlier, Bharat Biotech had announced a licensing agreement with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis for the ‘novel chimp adenovirus’, single dose intranasal vaccine for COVID-19.
He also talked about the possibility of a third wave of COVID-19 in India will be determined by the people’s behavior. “My sense is until Deepavali if no epidemic comes we are through as a country. Also with different vaccines coming, we can take care of the society at large. We are well geared up now… there was a little delay but now we have caught up…,” he said, expecting everyone in India to be vaccinated by March next year.
On COVAXIN, Mr. Ella said manufacturing the inactivated vaccine, unlike the vector or mRNA vaccines, was challenging. Bharat Biotech’s existing BSL-3 production facilities — however, made it possible to make inactivated vaccines. Noting that the safety profile of Covaxin was the best, Mr. Ella said the clinical trial of the vaccine for children between the age of 2-18 years was nearing completion.