Zydus Cadila Covid vaccine is close to getting approved in India, the company MD said (PTI photo)

Ahmedabad-based pharmaceutical company Zydus Cadila is likely to submit the application for emergency use authorisation of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate 'ZyCoV-D' in India this month. The company is confident that the vaccine will be approved in May itself. The company plants to produce one crore doses of its 'painless' Covid-19 vaccine per month.

If approved, ZyCoV-D will be the fourth vaccine to be used in India's Covid-19 vaccination drive. Made in India, the company plans to ramp up the vaccine's production to 3-4 crore doses per month and is already in talks with two other manufacturing companies for the same.

Although the vaccine should ideally be stored between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius, it remains stable even at room temperature conditions at 25 degrees Celsius. It is easy to administer, the developers said, and will be administered via intradermal injection.

If approved for emergency use, ZyCoV-D could help India fill the vacuum of vaccine doses currently being experienced in the country's immunisation drive.

Earlier in April, Zydus Cadila announced that its drug Virafin had received restricted emergency use approval from the Drug Controller General of India for the treatment of mild cases of Covid-19.

In an exclusive interview with India Today TV, Sharvil Patel sheds details on all aspects of the Covid-19 vaccine ZyCoV-D.

When asked the status of Covid vaccine candidate ZyCoV-D and when exactly Zydus Cadila would apply for emergency use authorisation in India, Dr Sharvil Patel said the vaccine was getting very close to getting approved in the country.

"I am very happy to say that India's first indigenously developed DNA vaccine candidate against Covid, which is our ZyCoV-D, is getting very close to approval," he said.

"We have almost completed all our recruitment for the clinical trials. We have, by far, recruited the largest number of patients for a Covid vaccine trial in India. The number of volunteers who have been vaccinated as a part of the trial is 28,000," Sharvil Patel said.

Sharvil Patel also said that his company has also included children in the 12-17 age group for the vaccine trials.

He said, "The recruitment holds very important milestones in terms of cohorts because not only have we included the elderly and those with co-morbidities, but also children in the age group of 12 to 17 years."

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Sharvil Patel said as soon as the efficacy data is obtained, Sydus Cadila will file for emergency use authorisation. As soon as the approval is granted, Zydus Cadila will start production of Covid-19 vaccines from July, he said.

"We hope to see our efficacy data in the middle of May. As soon as we see strong efficacy which correlates to the vaccine's strong immunogenicity in Phase 2, we will file for emergency use authorization. We hope to produce a good quantity of the vaccine from July onwards to make sure it is available to the people. That is the need of the hour right now," Sharvil Patel said.

He said by May the company will be in a position to talk to the regulators about the restricted use of the Covid-19 vaccine. "The regulatory process is a rolling one. I believe the regulators look at the data in a short period of time," Sharvil Patel said.

"We have submitted a lot of data already so that it will aid the regulators once we provide them with the efficacy results. We are, hence, expecting to get the approval in May itself," Sharvil Patel said.



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