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Shortage of raw material holding up Covovax manufacturing

Serum Institute of India (SII) is yet to receive raw materials from the US needed to produce the Novavax vaccine despite diplomatic interventions by India, said an official aware of the development.

The delay in receiving raw materials such as bioreactor bags and enzymes means that SII’s launch of the Novavax vaccine, branded as Covovax in India, will not likely happen before September this year as planned originally, the official said, requesting anonymity.

The company said raw material shortages have led to the delay in launching the vaccine.

The US lifted the export ban on raw materials on June 4.

“It’s fair to say that we are far ahead of where anyone thought we would be in our fight against the virus. And, importantly, we have secured enough vaccine supply for all Americans… As a result, we are removing the DPA priority ratings for AstraZeneca, Novavax and Sanofi. While the manufacturers will continue to make these vaccines, the action will allow US-based firms that supply to these manufacturers to make their decisions on the orders to fulfil first,” the White House said on June 2.

The relaxation of the Defence Production Act (DPA) was seen as a direct result of diplomatic talks between India and US with India’s foreign minister S. Jaishankar visiting Washington to appeal to the Joe Biden administration to iron out issues of vaccine distribution and other medical supplies to India.

A spokesperson for SII did not respond to emailed queries.

Earlier, US vaccine maker Novavax announced that its Covid-19 vaccine demonstrated 90% efficacy in phase 3 trials.

SII is the manufacturing partner for Novavax in India where the firm has committed to producing up to 1 billion doses. SII, the world’s largest vaccine maker, has been faltering on its international commitments. Hindustan Times

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