Gennova sees uptick in its Omicron-specific COVID booster – ET HealthWorld | Pharma

New Delhi: Pune-based biotech firm Gennova Biopharmaceuticals has witnessed a demand uptick for its Omicron-specific Covid-19 vaccine, with the recent surge in Coronavirus cases.

Gemcovac-OM, which was approved in June, is the country’s first mRNA-based vaccine which may work well against JN.1, the variant in circulation at present, a company official told TOI.

The vaccine is priced at Rs 2299, and is being made available in 70 centers across metros and in certain cities, including Pune.

It is also available through the government’s Co-WIN portal. The company has also tied up with an agency that can vaccinate people at home.

Gennova has already supplied about 10 lakh doses this year since the time of approval, most of which are available in hospitals and clinics. The company can ramp up capacity from 10 lakh to about 50 lakh in a month.

The JN.1 sub-variant is a descendant of BA.2.86 (also known as Pirola), which itself is a sub-variant of the widely circulating omicron,

Gemcovac-OM is the first and only booster Covid-19 vaccine made and available in India against the highly transmissible Omicron variant which received the Emergency Use Authorization from the office of the Drugs Controller General of India in June, according to the company.

The vaccine is lyophilized (freeze-dried) and stable at 2-8 °C. It helps in generating antibodies and memory immune responses specific to the Omicron variant which can reduce the probability of infection, and hospitalisation, he added.

The shot is delivered intradermally using a device called Tropis, developed by a US-based company, PharmaJet. This is a needle-free device that obviates the disadvantages of using a needle, such as a needle phobia, sharps disposal, and needle-stick injuries. The mRNA The technology provides flexibility to quickly tweak the vaccine for any existing or emerging variants of the virus, a company statement said earlier.

Most hospitals that TOI reached out said they were in a “wait and watch” mode, and had not taken a final decision yet regarding procurement of vaccines. Since they had not received inquiries from patients to get the booster, they were hesitant to place any orders.

The country recorded 530-odd fresh cases, with the new sub-variant spreading to nine states. According to the Co-WIN dashboard, registrations for the booster have crossed 200 as on December 28, with the rise witnessed from December 12 -coinciding with the surge in cases.

Mid-last year, anticipating a huge demand due to the rising caseload of the third wave, several hospitals had stockpiled substantial quantities of vaccines. This left them saddled with a huge inventory, and losses running into hundreds of crores. In the wake of milder infections as against the previous two Covid-19 waves, there was a poor offtake of boosters during the third wave. Hence, this time around, they would wait for clarity before placing vaccine orders.

  • Published On Dec 28, 2023 at 04:39 PM IST

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