Despite DCGI nod, here’s why Biological E's Corbevax is not yet available for booster shots

Despite DCGI nod, here’s why Biological E's Corbevax is not yet available for booster shots

Biological E has already stockpiled crores of doses of the vaccine based on the central government’s advance order of purchasing 30 crore doses.

The wait for the roll-out of Biological E’s Corbevax vaccine as a heterologous booster shot may continue for a while, News18.com has learnt.

Despite DCGI nod, here’s why Biological E's Corbevax is not yet available for booster shots
Corbevax gets DCGI nod as Covid booster shot for those 18 and above

Corbevax was approved for heterologous use as a Covid booster shot by apex drug regulator Drugs Controller General of India in the first week of June.

The apex panel, National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), continues to debate the significance of clearing Covid vaccines, which are based on original Wuhan strain and have become obsolete by now.

“Omicron strain has taken over all other previously existing strains of coronavirus, including alpha, beta and delta. The existing vaccines are on old format,” Dr J P Mulliyal, former professor, Christian Medical College, Vellore told News18. Mulliyal is also the member of NTAGI.

According to the World Health Organization, Omicron accounts for almost 97% of infections globally, with the BA.2 sub-variant accounting for the greatest share (39%).

“How do we justify clearing a vaccine made on strains when the strain does not prevail anymore? Now vaccines directed against Omicron, and not for strains which do not exist anymore, should be approved. Thankfully, Omicron does not cause severe disease and hence there is no grave need to get its vaccine.”

The panel has officially communicated the hiccup to the company (Biological E for Corbevax), Mulliyal said, adding that “the concern is not only about Corbevax, but all other vaccines awaiting new approvals”.

Biological E has already stockpiled crores of doses of the vaccine based on the central government’s advance order of purchasing 30 crore doses. News18.com reached out to Biological E for comments, but the company could not respond immediately.

Another member of the panel, who did not wish to be quoted, said that NTAGI members are likely to meet to discuss the approvals this week or latest by next week.

“The members will discuss the approval for Gennova’s mRNA, SII’s Covovax for children and Biological E’s Corbevax as heterlogous booster,” he said.

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