Moderna aims to launch a single-dose version of its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in India next year and is in discussion with Mumbai-based pharmaceutical firm Cipla among others to supply it, according to the India news agency PTI.
The report included several other revelations regarding COVID-19 vaccine supplies to the country, which is in the throes of a brutal coronavirus wave.
Among the notes from PTI, Moderna’s global COVID-19 vaccine supplies are fully committed for 2021. The company has told India it does not have any available doses to send this year. Another vaccine player, Johnson & Johnson, will have limited doses of its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine available for export in the near future, according to the report.
India accounts for roughly half of the new coronavirus cases reported in the world, according to the Reuters pandemic tracker. New cases are in decline however, averaging 245,000 over the last seven days, or 63% of the country’s single-day peak on May 8.
In a country of 1.366 billion, there have been 26.9 million cases and 307,231 coronavirus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic. The daily death toll reached 4,000 in the second week of this month and has remained there.
The primary vaccines in use in India are the Covishield, made by AstraZeneca and its partner Serum Institute of India, and Covaxin, made domestically by Bharat Biotech. More than 200 million doses have been administered. Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine also has been approved in India but has seen only limited use.
India’s extensive network of drug manufacturing facilities has been busy cranking out COVD-19 vaccines and treatments but can’t keep up with the county’s demand.
Late last month, Gilead said it would donate 450,000 doses of its COVID-19 antiviral drug Veklury to India. Merck followed suit, saying it had a licensing agreement with five generic manufacturers in India to produce its antiviral candidate molnupiravir, which is in phase 3 trials for non-hospitalized patients. Eli Lilly has inked a series of licensing deals for baricitinib, its arthritis drug authorized in combo with Veklury to treat hospitalized patients.
The Moderna news out of India comes on the same day that the company released data of a successful trial of its COVID-19 vaccine on children aged 12 to 18. A 100% efficacy rate among 3,700 participants sets the shot up for a potential FDA approval in time for school to begin in the fall. Pfizer has already won approval for its vaccine to be used by children.
Attempts to reach Moderna concerning the report from India were unsuccessful.