Tata Group’s new healthcare venture, Tata Medical and Diagnostics Ltd has started exploratory talks with US biotechnology firm Moderna for a partnership to launch its COVID-19 vaccine in India.
Tata Medical & Diagnostics could team up with India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research to carry out clinical trials of Moderna’s vaccine candidate in India, the report said, citing officials familiar with the matter.
Unlike Pfizer’s vaccine, which must be kept at minus 70 degrees Celsius or below, Moderna’s can be stored at normal fridge temperatures, making it more suited for poorer countries such as India where cold chains are limited.
India mandates that any vaccine maker must conduct an additional local study if it has to be considered for what the country calls the world’s biggest vaccination programme.
About Moderna Vaccine
Moderna’s vaccine, which is based on mRNA technology, has reported 94.1 percent efficacy in treating patients infected with COVID-19.
Besides, the US company’s vaccine has been approved for use in countries including the US, Canada, and the UK.
Moderna’s vaccine is stable for up to six months at a temperature of minus 20 degrees Celsius (-4 F), about home freezer levels, when shipped and stored, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
India has the world’s second-highest COVID-19 caseload after the United States, but daily cases have been declining since hitting a peak in September.
India’s drugs controller has said the overall efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine, locally branded COVISHIELD, was 70.42% based on trials done overseas.
Moderna has no separate tie-up with any Indian manufacturers, and its first supply commitments are to governments that pre-ordered vaccines.
The CDC also informed that Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine has caused very few severe allergic reactions. Of the over four million people who were administered the vaccine from December 21, 2020, to January 10, 2021, only 10 developed anaphylaxes.
Several Indian companies have tied up with international vaccine-making firms for testing and supplying COVID-19 vaccines in the country.
For instance, the Pune-based Serum Institute of India developed the Covishield in collaboration with the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca.
Meanwhile, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories in India is developing Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, and Biological E is conducting trials for Johnson & Johnson’s candidate.