Covishield: Manufacturer, dose schedule, efficacy rate, possible side effects and price
New Delhi, Jan 16: Covishield vaccine has been developed by the University of Oxford and British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.
Adar Poonawalla, Chief Executive Officer, Serum Institute of India (SII) -- which is British-Swedish pharma giant AstraZeneca's manufacturing partner - said that the vaccine would be 90 to 95 per cent effective if the two shots are parted by around 2-3 months.
The vaccine is being touted as one of the most promising vaccines for India where cost and logistics play a big roll.
"You'll be hearing some good news from the UK very soon... It would be a 90-95 per cent effective vaccine if you just keep a two-to-three months' gap between dose 1 and dose 2. They will make that public with documentation."
Drugs Controller General of India VG Somani said the overall efficacy of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine was found to be 70.42 per cent - well below vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, but above the 50 per cent threshold set by many regulators.
Dosage schedule and storage
The Subject Expert Committee (SEC) has recommended the approval of two full doses of the vaccine administered around 4-6 weeks apart. Immune response could last at least a year. The vaccine can be stored at temperatures between 2°C and 8°C.
Mild adverse reactions
For Covishield, the fact sheet says a few mild adverse events can happen following immunisation -injection site tenderness; injection site pain; headache; fatigue; myalgia (deep muscle pain); malaise (a feeling of overall discomfort); pyrexia (an abnormal elevation of body temperature); chills; arthralgia (pain in the joint); and nausea.
In such cases, the fact sheets say the common painkiller paracetamol may be used "to provide symptomatic relief from post-vaccination adverse reaction".
Rare adverse reactions
The nerves in the body are covered with a protective layer called myelin - like a network of electric wires that helps transmit messages from the brain smoothly through the body.
Conditions that damage myelin are called demyelinating disorders. The fact sheet says "very rare events of demyelinating disorders" have been reported following vaccination with Covishield, "without the causal relationship establishment".
It adds that Covishield should be given with "caution" to individuals with thrombocytopenia, a medical condition characterised by abnormally low levels of platelets.
Serum Institute of India has said it would price the vaccine at 440 rupees (about $3) for the government and around Rs 700-800 for the private market.
"The firm submitted safety, immunogenicity and efficacy data generated on 23,745 participants aged 18 years or older from overseas clinical studies. Data of Phase-2/3 clinical trials on 1,000 participants within the country was also submitted and it was found comparable with the data from the overseas clinical studies," Somani said.
SII has already stockpiled more than 50 million doses of Covishield so far and currently has a capacity to make around 50-60 million doses a month.