Cipla Seeks Centre’s Support Ahead Of Committing Over $1 Billion For Moderna’s Covid-19 Booster Vaccine

by Bhaswati Guha Majumder - Jun 1, 2021 01:53 PM
Cipla Seeks Centre’s Support Ahead Of Committing Over $1 Billion For Moderna’s Covid-19 Booster VaccineSophy Ridge (Twitter)
Snapshot
  • Cipla has requested the Indian government for indemnification and exemptions from price capping, bridging trials and basic customs duty for Moderna Covid-19 booster vaccine.

The Indian drug major Cipla’s discussion with American pharmaceutical company Moderna on the Covid-19 vaccine booster is nearing finalisation. Before going ahead and concluding the deal, the Mumbai based firm is seeking the centre’s help.

Cipla has requested the Government of India for indemnification and exemptions from price capping, bridging trials and basic customs duty.

As reported, the Indian drugmaker said it is close to committing more than $1 billion as advance to Moderna to introduce its booster Covid-19 vaccine in India.

It is now seeking the “partnership and support of the government to make this programme successful”.

Cipla recently had a high-level meeting with the government during which it discussed the partnership between two companies to launch a single-dose vaccine for the Indian market.

Apart from Cipla, Moderna reportedly in talks with other Indian companies to bring the vaccine booster to the country.

During the meeting, it was also discussed that Cipla is aiming to procure 50 million doses from Moderna for next year.

As reported, the Indian drug major has written to the centre: “It is imperative that Cipla brings Moderna booster vaccines to India urgently, having immediately made available the largest portfolio of Covid-19 drugs amongst Indian pharmaceutical companies, including the state-of-the-art antibody cocktail of Casirivimab and Imdevimab”.

Additionally, Cipla told the government that it needs assurance from the authority to include the Moderna Covid-19 booster vaccine under the Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy.

According to the company, it is the “need of the hour” to provide access to quality Covid-19 vaccine booster to strengthen the fight against coronavirus pandemic in India.

It also said: “Given the size of the population we need to immunise with boosters, it is our avid belief that the government and private players can work together to deliver the vaccination programme, best serving the public interest”.

“Any restriction brought on pricing may dissuade the mRNA players from providing their vaccines in India, considering the serious competing demand by other countries chasing the limited supply of vaccines,” a source quoted Cipla, according to the report.

As Moderna’s India partner, Cipla also said that it will comply with post-marketing surveillance requirements.

Moderna Booster Vaccine

Even though the currently available vaccines are effective and a critical tool to bring the coronavirus pandemic under control, none of these jabs are 100 per cent effective at preventing illness vaccinated people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States said that vaccine breakthrough infection cases are expected.

As per the current understanding, a small percentage of fully vaccinated people would get sick, hospitalised or die from the SARS-CoV-2 caused disease.

But if scientists find an unexpectedly high number of “breakthrough infections”—when a fully vaccinated person tests positive after being exposed to the coronavirus—particularly infections that result in severe disease, it will be the warning sign that people must get boosters.

Considering such an unprecedented situation, companies like Pfizer and Moderna have already started to test their booster shots.

According to Moderna, a test of its boosters showed that a third shot and a variant-specific version both increased antibody levels.

In a news release, the company stated that the initial data from the Phase II study showing that a single 50 µg dose of mRNA-1273 or mRNA-1273.351 given as a booster to those previously vaccinated people have increased neutralising antibody titer responses against the novel virus and two variants of concern, B.1.351 and P.1—both first identified in South Africa and Brazil respectively.

Moderna said in the release: “Booster dose of mRNA-1273.351, a strain-matched candidate, achieved higher titers against B.1.351 than a booster dose of mRNA-1273”.

“mRNA-1273.351 and mRNA-1273 booster doses were generally well-tolerated,” it added.

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