New Delhi: Serum Institute of India has started the production of the first batch of Novavax covid vaccine in Pune. Announcing the news Serum Institute of India (SII) chief Adar Poonawalla said that the vaccine has the potential to protect children and teenagers. Poonwalla took to Twitter and wrote, “Excited to witness the first batch of Covovax (developed by @Novavax) being manufactured this week at our facility in Pune. The vaccine has great potential to protect our future generations below the age of 18. Trials are ongoing. Well done team @seruminstindia!.”Also Read - SII's Covovax Gets DCGI's Nod for Emergency Use in Children Aged 7-11 Years

US-based Novavax Inc has a vaccine manufacturing agreement with Serum Institute of India. In March this year, he had said that the clinical trials of Covovax vaccine have begun in India and the company hopes to launch it by September this year. Also Read - 4th Wave of COVID? Karnataka Govt to Tighten Rules Amid Rising Cases. Deets Inside

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In August 2020, American vaccine company Novavax Inc had announced a licence agreement with SII for the development and commercialisation of NVX-CoV2373, its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, in low and middle-income countries and India. In January this year, the Serum Institute had rolled out Covishield vaccine in the country. It had entered into a collaboration with the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca to manufacture the vaccine.

Novavax Inc earlier had claimed that its vaccine candidate was highly effective with 90.4 per cent efficacy overall and also showed high efficacy against predominantly circulating variants.

The vaccine candidate ”NVX-CoV2373” demonstrated 100 per cent protection against moderate and severe disease, 90.4 per cent efficacy overall, and met the primary endpoint in its PREVENT-19 pivotal Phase 3 trial, Novavax said in a statement.

The study enrolled 29,960 participants across 119 sites in the US and Mexico to evaluate efficacy, safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine, it added.

The vaccine demonstrated 93 per cent efficacy against predominantly circulating variants of concern and variants of interest, Novavax said.

“Today, Novavax is one step closer to addressing the critical and persistent global public health need for additional COVID-19 vaccines. “These clinical results reinforce that NVX-CoV2373 is extremely effective and offers complete protection against both moderate and severe COVID-19 infection,” Novavax President and Chief Executive Officer Stanley C Erck said.

“Novavax continues to work with a sense of urgency to complete our regulatory submissions and deliver this vaccine, built on a well understood and proven platform, to a world that is still in great need of vaccines,” he added.