The Philippine government, represented by Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., Serum Institute of India (SII) and Faberco Life Sciences, Inc., have signed a term sheet on Saturday for 30 million doses of vaccines for the coronavirus disease 2019.
“This is a significant milestone in relations between India and the Philippines. It shows that we don’t have to look far beyond Philippine shores to find friends who are willing to help each other out,” Kishore Hemlani, founder of Faberco Life Sciences Inc., SII’s Philippine partner, said after the signing.
SII will supply the Covid-19 vaccine branded as Covovax that will be available starting from the third quarter of this year.
SII, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, partnered with Novavax, a US-based biotechnology company, for the development and commercialization of the Covovax vaccine. The vaccine has the recombinant coronavirus spike protein nanoparticle and a Novavax-patented Matrix-M adjuvant to enhance the immune response and stimulate high levels of neutralizing antibodies. Covovax is in third-stage trials and expected to be approved for use by international regulators.
“The vaccine will be used to vaccinate 15 million vulnerable and poor Filipinos. The vaccine is stable at 2°C to 8°C, the standard temperature that is within the existing cold chain system in the Philippines, thus allowing its distribution to the remotest barangays,” said Faberco Life Sciences Medical Director Dr. Luningning Villa.
The candidate vaccine was thoroughly evaluated in different geographies, various age groups, groups that are most affected by Covid-19 including people living with HIV, and racial and ethnic minorities. The clinical trials involved a sizeable population of around 50,000 subjects to ensure extreme robust clinical data prior to approval by relevant regulatory bodies including the World Health Organization.
The vaccine underwent the initial phase of the clinical trials in Australia, South Africa and India. Phase-three trial is currently carried out in the UK with 15,000 subjects and also ongoing in the United States and Mexico with 30,000 subjects.
The price of the vaccine is expected to be finalized soon between the government and SII, which is noted for providing effective, safe and affordable vaccines across the globe through the decades. SII is also a dependable supplier of various vaccines to the Philippines, especially those used in the government’s Expanded Program for Immunization. CURRENTPH