- Corbevax is the third COVID-19 vaccine developed in India
- Corbevax vaccine is created using protein subunit technology
- The vaccine has been designed in the US and made in India
New Delhi: On December 28, 2021, India gave approval to two COVID-19 vaccines – Corbevax and Covovax and an anti-viral drug Molnupiravir for restricted emergency use. Sharing the news on the micro-blogging site Twitter, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya congratulated India and gave a brief about the two vaccines and an anti-viral drug. About Corbevax, he wrote, “CORBEVAX vaccine is India’s 1st indigenously developed RBD protein sub-unit vaccine against #COVID19, Made by Hyderabad-based firm Biological-E. It’s a hat-trick! It’s now 3rd vaccine developed in India!”
CORBEVAX vaccine is India's 1st indigenously developed RBD protein sub-unit vaccine against #COVID19, Made by Hyderabad-based firm Biological-E.
It's a hat-trick! It's now 3rd vaccine developed in India! (2/5)
— Dr Mansukh Mandaviya (@mansukhmandviya) December 28, 2021
The other two vaccines developed in India are Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and the Serum Institute of India’s (SII) Covishield.
Here are a few things we know about Corbevax so far:
1. The vaccine has been developed by Biological E. Limited in collaboration with Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development (Texas Children’s CVD) and Baylor College of Medicine (Baylor) in Houston, Texas. Biological E. Limited is a Hyderabad-based Pharmaceuticals and Biologics company.
2. The Corbevax vaccine is created using protein subunit technology. The World Health Organisation defines subunit vaccine as the one,
that only uses the very specific parts (the subunits) of a virus or bacterium that the immune system needs to recognise. It doesn’t contain the whole microbe or uses a safe virus as a vector.
Corbevax is a “recombinant protein sub-unit” vaccine, developed from a component of the spike protein on the virus’ surface, which helps the body build the immune response against the virus.
3. Talking to NDTV about the vaccine, Dr Peter Hotez one of the developers of the vaccine, which has been designed in the US and made in India, said,
Corbevax uses an older technology, similar to the recombinant Hepatitis B vaccine that has been in use in India and globally for several decades now. It is produced by microbial fermentation and yeast. That’s actually a vegan vaccine which people find kind of interesting and we do this because this is the lowest cost vaccine and yet it works as well as any of the mRNA or adenovirus vectored vaccines.
4. “Biological E. Limited’s Cobevax has completed two Phase 3 clinical trials involving more than 3,000 subjects between the ages of 18 and 80 at 33 study sites across India. The vaccine was found to be safe, well-tolerated and immunogenic”, stated the company in a press release.
5. Dr Hotez informed that the plan now is for Biological E. to work with WHO to get the vaccine either pre-qualified or emergency use listed globally so it can make a contribution not only in India but across the world.
6. Dr Hotez also shared the news of pediatric trials which will make the vaccine suitable for people aged below 18. He said, “It will be a pediatric vaccine as well as a booster for vaccines that are not working well against the various variants. It could help especially some of the Sinovac vaccines which is not very strong against the variants. This could be a booster for some of the others.”
7. The vaccine has been licensed patent-free which means that other low- and middle-income countries can produce and distribute this cheap, stable and relatively easy-to-scale vaccine locally.
8. Corbevax is said to be the first low-cost and affordable COVID-19 vaccine for global access. Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi, Professor and Associate Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor and Co-Director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development said,
Our decade-long studies advancing coronavirus vaccine prototypes has led to the creation of this vaccine, which will fill the access gap created by the more expensive, newer vaccine technologies and that today are still not being able to quickly scale up for global production.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.