Covishield to dominate overall COVID-19 vaccination drive in India, says GlobalData

Serum Institute of India’s (SII) Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin have recently received emergency use authorization (EUA) in India. However, despite indigenous vaccine Covaxin’s approval, Covishield will continue to dominate the overall vaccination drive in India irrespective of other vaccine options in the near future, says GlobalData, a leading data analytics and research company.

According to GlobalData’s Pharma Intelligence Center, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. (Dr. Reddy’s) is conducting Phase II/III trial of Sputnik V and Zydus Cadila received approval to initiate Phase III trial of ZyCov-D in India. ZyCov-D is the second indigenous vaccine to reach Phase III trials. Moreover, Pfizer has already filed for EUA in India and is still under review by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).

Prashant Khadayate, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Covaxin is still in Phase III  and is expected to be used as an alternative to Covishield in a clinical trial mode. Moreover, Bharat Biotech is expected to release the efficacy data of Covaxin from Phase III trial by March 2021, whereas Covishield already had full efficacy data from overseas Phase III trial and interim data from the Phase II/Phase III bridging study in India. During this time, Covishield will develop strong momentum in the market and will have real-world examples to prove how safe the vaccine is.”

SII and Bharat Biotech have manufactured 60 million and 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, respectively. India aims to vaccinate 300 million priority population initially, including healthcare workers, frontline workers and people above 50 years of age by the end of July 2021. Considering that, most of the vaccination orders will be delivered to the Indian government.

SII has taken the lead in supplying orders for the Indian government through 11 million doses ordered of Covishield versus 5.5 million doses of Covaxin.

Mr Khadayate concludes: “In India, COVID-19 vaccine market penetration will be dependent on pricing, safety, efficacy and cold chain logistics with pricing having more weightage. SII’s Covishield is an affordable option at US$2.73 (INR200) excluding taxes for government orders and approximately US$13 (INR1,000) for the private market. Covaxin is priced at US$4.04 (INR295) for 3.85 million doses whereas it is providing 1.65 million doses free to the government bringing the overall price to US$2.82 (INR206) excluding taxes. However, by the time Covaxin enters the market through the commercial model in March following the completion of Phase III trials, it will be slightly late and Covishield will capture the majority of the government orders and be ready for supply in the private market.

“On the other hand, the Pfizer vaccine will face logistics issues in India as the vaccine needs to be stored at minus 70 Celsius, which is difficult to maintain in developing nations like India. In contrast, Dr. Reddy’s Sputnik V is expected to be approved by the end of Q2 2021 at the earliest and Zydus Cadila’s ZyCov-D is expected to be approved by the end of Q2 or starting Q3 of 2021. Therefore, it is likely that Covishield will lead the overall vaccination drive in India, followed by Covaxin.”

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