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Biological E seeks to perform 600 million Johnson and Johnson vaccine injections per year | India News

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NEW DELHI: Indian pharmaceutical company Biological E Ltd seeks to contract to manufacture roughly 600 million doses of Johnson and Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine a year, its managing director told Reuters on Wednesday.
The country’s inoculation campaign currently uses the University of Oxford’s AstraZeneca vaccine and another developed in-house by Bharat Biotech with the state Indian Council for Medical Research.
Several other vaccines, including Russia’s Sputnik V, Cadila Healthcare’s ZyCov-D and a Novavax product are queuing in the world’s largest vaccine-producing country.
“We are targeting 600 million doses for J&J,” said Mahima Datla of Biological E, adding that it was unclear when production could begin. “This will be in addition to our own product for which we are targeting approximately 1 billion doses.”
He declined to answer whether the company could help J&J conduct a small local safety and immunogenicity study in India for the single-dose injection that was found to be 66% effective in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 disease. India generally requests so-called bridging studies for foreign vaccines.
A senior government official said Tuesday that J&J was interested in making its vaccine in India, which has recorded the highest number of COVID-19 infections after the United States.
Biological E’s own candidate vaccine developed with the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and the US-based Dynavax Technologies Corp is undergoing clinical trials in India, with late-stage testing due to begin in April.
India, which manufactures about 60% of the vaccines sold in the world, wants COVID-19 vaccine companies to manufacture them locally for sale in the domestic market and export.
The country has vaccinated more than 6.6 million frontline workers since its campaign began on January 16, with the goal of reaching 300 million people by August. It has reported 10.86 million infections and more than 155,000 deaths.
The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, is manufacturing AstraZeneca and Novavax injections for low- and middle-income countries.

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