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The Centre has opened up Covid-19 vaccination for children between the ages of 12 and 14, allowing them to receive Corbevax, a vaccine against Covid-19 that is manufactured by Hyderabad-based Biological-E. Corbevax is India’s first indigenously developed Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) protein sub-unit vaccine.


GS II- Health

Dimensions of the Article:
  1. What is Corbevax?
  2. What is the scientific evidence on the safety and efficacy for Corbevax?

What is Corbevax?

  • Corbevax, a protein sub-unit Covid-19 vaccine, is one that is built on the traditional sub-unit vaccine platform.
  • Instead of the whole virus, the platform triggers an immune response by using fragments of it, like the spike protein.
  • The sub-unit vaccine contains the harmless S-protein, and once the human immune system recognises it, it produces antibodies, such as white blood cells, that fight the infection.
  • Corbevax includes antigenic parts of the virus to trigger a protective immune response.
  • The antigen has been developed by the Texas Children’s Hospital Centre for Vaccine Development and in-licensed from BCM Ventures, Baylor College of Medicine’s integrated commercialization team.

What is the scientific evidence on the safety and efficacy for Corbevax?

  • Corbevax was approved by the DCGI based on interim results of the ongoing phase II and III clinical trials.
  • The vaccine had already been approved for adults. However, details of these efficacy studies have not been made public nor published in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • The Centre had placed an order for 50 million doses of Corbevax at the cost of ₹145 per dose.

Two controversial aspects of the Corbevax trial:

  • One, the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), which traditionally reviews available data on vaccine safety and recommends a vaccine to be publicly administered, has not scrutinised the Corbevax safety and efficacy profile for 12 to 14 year olds.
  • Secondly, its unclear why, when Covaxin and Corbevax are approved for 12 to 18-year-olds, only Corbevax is allowed to be administered.

-Source: The Hindu, Indian Express

December 2023