Ukraine has agreed with India to supply the first 500,000 doses of Covishield vaccine, manufactured at the Indian Serum Institute of India under the license of Oxford-Astra Zeneca. About this reported Embassy of India in Ukraine.
The Minister of Health of Ukraine Maksym Stepanov went to India to control the sending of vaccines.
“Today I personally supervised the shipment of the first batch of vaccines AstraZeneca (CoviShield) from the manufacturer in the Indian city of Pune. 500,000 doses of the vaccine go to Ukraine, and will then be distributed among the regions according to the Ministry of Health,” the minister wrote on Sunday.
Ukraine should be one of the first countries to receive the vaccine from India in February.
The Indian regulator, which controls the circulation of medicines, has given the green light to two vaccines – Covishield (local name for the Oxford-Astra Zeneca vaccine, developed in the UK) and Covaxin, produced by the local pharmaceutical company Bharat Biotech.
India produces 60% of all vaccines in the world, with half a dozen major vaccine manufacturers.
So what is known about Indian vaccines?
What is Covishield
The Oxford-Astra Zeneca vaccine is produced by the local Serum Institute, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer. It is noted that it produces more than 50 million doses per month.
The vaccine, known as Covishield, is made from a weakened version of the chimpanzee cold virus (known as adenovirus). It has been modified to look more like a coronavirus – but it cannot cause disease.
When a vaccine is given to a patient, it stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies and prepares it for an attack of any coronavirus infection.
Vaccinations are done twice, with an interval of 4-12 weeks. The vaccine can be stored safely at a temperature of 2 ° C to 8 ° C, and vaccination can be done in existing doctor’s offices.
This makes it easier to spread and use this vaccine than some others.
For example, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should be stored at -70 ° C and moved only a limited number of times – this is a particular problem in India, where temperatures can reach 50 ° C in summer.
How effective is Covishield?
International clinical trials of Oxford-Astra Zeneca have shown that when people were given half the dose and then the full dose, the effectiveness was 90%.
However, unpublished data suggest that a longer interval between the first and second doses increases the overall effectiveness of vaccination – in the subgroup that received the vaccine in this way, its effectiveness after the first dose was 70%.
The serum institute, which produces the vaccine in India, believes that Covishield is highly effective, which is supported by data from phase III studies in Brazil and the United Kingdom. Clinical trials are a three-phase process that determines whether a vaccine elicits a good immune response and whether it has unacceptable side effects.
But the All India Drug Action Network said it was in a hurry because the manufacturer had not completed a “transitional study” of the vaccine on Indians.
The company said it would try to conduct a transitional trial of the vaccine in India in February. Some experts argue that there is no reason to believe that it will not be as successful, given that already completed clinical trials have included people of all ages and ethnicities.
How about Covaxin?
The vaccine was developed with the support of the Indian government by Bharat Biotech, a 24-year-old vaccine manufacturer with a portfolio of 16 vaccines that exports to 123 countries.
This is an inactivated vaccine, ie made from killed coronaviruses, so it can be safely injected into the body.
When administered, immune cells can still recognize the dead virus, which causes the immune system to produce antibodies against it.
Two doses of vaccination are given at intervals of four weeks. The vaccine can be stored at 2 ° C to 8 ° C.
Bharat Biotech says it has 20 million doses of Covaxin and aims to make 700 million doses by the end of the year.
What is the contradiction of Covaxin?
It all began when the regulator said the vaccine had been approved for “limited use in emergencies of public interest as a precautionary measure in a clinical trial, especially in the context of infection with mutant strains.”
Experts wondered how the vaccine was allowed for emergency use by millions of vulnerable people while its testing was still ongoing.
Both the manufacturer and the regulator said Covaxin was “safe and guarantees a reliable immune response.”
But the All India Drug Action Network said it could “barely understand the scientific logic” of approving a “not fully studied vaccine.” She noted that there were “serious concerns about the lack of performance data”.
Bharat Biotech defended the approval, saying that Indian clinical trial laws allow for “accelerated” licensing of drugs after the second phase of trials for “unmet medical needs for serious and life-threatening diseases in the country.” The company has promised to provide data on the effectiveness of the vaccine by February.
Which countries buy vaccines in India?
Some of the first batches of vaccines were sent to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and the Seychelles.
Currently, only Covishield is exported – partly as free “gifts”, and the rest – under commercial agreements signed between the manufacturer and individual countries.
Last June, AstraZeneca signed a licensing agreement with the Serum Institute to supply one billion doses to low- and middle-income countries, pledging to provide 400 million by the end of 2020.
India also plans to send vaccines to Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Mauritius and Brazil.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that India will continue to supply vaccines worldwide, taking into account domestic and international requirements and commitments.
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