Govt in talks with Zydus Cadila for its covid-19 vaccine pricing


The government is under discussion with Zydus Cadila for pricing of its covid-19 vaccine ZyCov-D and expected to start vaccination of children above 12 years very soon, union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Tuesday. 

While the ministry has fixed price much below what the manufacturer demanded, the rate per shot would be more than Covishield and Covaxin, sources said.  Zydus Cadila received approval for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for ZyCoV-D on August 20th. The vaccine from Ahmadabad bases pharmaceutical company India’s first indigenously developed DNA based vaccine for Covid-19 to be administered in humans including Children and adults 12 years and above. The three dose vaccine which when injected produces the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and elicits an immune response, which plays a vital role in protection from disease as well as viral clearance.   

India is currently administering Oxford AstraZeneca developed and Serum Institute of India (SII) manufactured Covishield, Hyderabad-based Indian drug maker Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccines under its mass immunisation program against Covid-19. India had capped the prices of SII’s Covishield at private vaccination centres at ₹780 per dose, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin at ₹1,410 per dose and Russia’s Sputnik V at ₹1,145. It also said private hospitals cannot charge over ₹150 for administering a dose. 

While speaking in a press conference about the delay in getting World Health Organization’s (WHO) Emergency use listing (EUL) for Bharat Biotech’s covid-19 vaccine Covaxin, Mandaviya said that the WHO’s technical committee will take a call on granting the emergency use listing (EUL) to Covaxin today. “Bharat Biotech has submitted all the data sought by WHO. WHO has a system in which there is a technical committee which has approved it (Covaxin) while the other committee is meeting today. The approval for Covaxin will be given on the basis of today’s meeting,” said the minister. 

Meanwhile, the Mandaviya will also meet health ministers of states and union territories on Wednesday to discuss further scaling up of national covid-19 vaccination drive in the country especially to firstly cover all eligible beneficiaries with the second dose. India’s cumulative covid-19 vaccination breached 103 crores on Tuesday. 

Union health ministry in a separate statement said that more than 107.22crore (1,07,22,96,865) vaccine doses have been provided to States/UTs so far through government of India (free of cost channel) and through direct state procurement category. More than 12.37 Crores (12,37,18,504) balance and unutilized covid-19 vaccine doses are still available with the States/UTs to be administered. 

The coronavirus cases continue to rise in India at a slower pace. 12,428 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours which is lowest in 238 days. Reports from several states are coming that a new coronavirus variant ‘AY 4.2’, a sub-lineage of the Covid Delta variant is circulating in various states such as Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra and Karnataka. The variant is believed to be behind a surge in cases in UK, Russia and China.  

 “A team of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) teams analyse different variants circulating in the country. An expert panel is studying this new coronavirus variant named AY.4.2. We don’t have much information on how contagious it is,” Mandaviya said.

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