New Delhi [India], April 22 (ANI): Johnson & Johnson's single-shot coronavirus vaccine is expected to be imported to India for "fill and finish" by June or July this year, said Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology on Thursday.
"The Johnson & Johnson's vaccines are expected to be imported to India by June-July 2021. Johnson & Johnson's is working closely with Biological E to facilitate the ongoing tech transfer to India," Swarup told ANI.
Talking about the vaccine, Swarup said that Johnson & Johnson's vaccine candidate "leverages the adenovirus vector-based delivery system."
"To expand the manufacturing capacity in India, Johnson & Johnson has signed a tech-transfer agreement with Biological E Limited, for the manufacturing of their investigational single dose, SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate, Ad26.COV2.S. This would add to the manufacturing capacity of India," she said.
She added that Biological E is also working on its own candidate which has completed the trial.
"The estimated manufacturing capacity of Biological E, for this vaccine candidate, is about 600 billion doses per annum," Swarup added.
According to data published in the New England Journal of Medicine, as cited by The Hill, Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine protected against symptomatic and asymptomatic infection and prevented hospitalisation and death in all participants 28 days after vaccination.
The article said the vaccine was 67 per cent effective on average against moderate to severe-critical COVID-19 at least 14 days after administration, and 66 per cent effective at 28 days after vaccination.
The vaccine was close to 77 per cent effective against severe/critical COVID-19 at 14 days after administration, and 85 per cent after 28 days.
Talking about Russia's Sputnik V vaccine that recently received Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) in India, Swarup said that besides the initial import of the Russian vaccine, India is also looking forward to indigenous production of Sputnik V.
"Internal discussions have been going on with Dr Reddy's regarding the same. Apart from Dr Reddy's, five local manufacturing partners have been identified including Hetero Biopharma, Virchow Biotech, Stelis Biopharma, Gland Biopharma and Panacea Biotech which collectively could produce about 700 million doses per annum. Tech transfer from Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) is in process and the vaccine doses are expected to be available soon," she added.
After getting approval from the Subject expert committee (SEC) for Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA), the Indian Ambassador to Russia, Bala Venkatesh Varma on April 16 said that the first batch of Sputnik V will be delivered to India in April.
Sputnik V is the third COVID-19 vaccine to get clearance in India after Serum Institute of India's locally-made Oxford Covid-19 vaccine Covishield and Bharat Biotech's indigenously manufactured Covaxin.
India has become the 60th country to authorise the use of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against coronavirus. (ANI)