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Ex-Hilleman CEO On COVID-19 Vaccine Heterologous Boosting, Endemic Disease

Regulators Face Tough Time

Executive Summary

As more countries adopt heterologous boosting of COVID-19 vaccines in a bid to improve supplies and/or immunity while reducing side effects, vaccines expert and ex-Hilleman CEO Davinder Gill talks to Scrip in an audio interview on the challenges of the strategy and of the disease becoming endemic.

With multiple waves of COVID-19 still hitting countries across the world, a number have looked at strategies to counter the disease’s impact on their populations.

Some like the US and UK, which have companies such as AstraZeneca PLCPfizer Inc.Moderna, Inc. and Janssen Pharmaceutical Cos. prioritizing supplies to them, decided on vaccinating their own citizens before helping others.

Others like Canada, Germany, Spain and South Korea went for a heterologous prime boosting strategy, not just to counter a short supply but also to boost immunity, as shown in some studies. Apart from delivering better protection against variants like Delta, avoiding a repeat of rare or very rare adverse events post administration of the first dose was also a driving factor of this "mix and match" strategy, as some COVID-19 vaccines reported greater or broader side effects than others.

Scientific data on COVID-19 vaccines and the mixing strategy are still evolving, with regulators revising their own recommendations while directing companies to update information available to vaccine recipients.

As heterologous boosting becomes more prevalent, Scrip interviewed Davinder Gill, a vaccine expert and ex-CEO of India's Hilleman Laboratories Pvt. Ltd., on the topic, as well as on challenges facing regulators, governments and companies as COVID-19 becomes endemic. The discussion also encompassed the state of play around COVID-19 vaccines in India.

Time Stamps

00:08 Introduction

01:41 Does heterologous boosting complicate a regulator’s job in assigning responsibility for side effects?

02:50 How will Phase IV or post-marketing studies be conducted for heterologous boosting?

04:18 How will the Indian regulator track over six vaccines for these purposes?

06:14 Indemnity for Pfizer, Moderna, J&J over use of their COVID-19 vaccines in India

08:35 Has India got its timing right for resumption of COVID-19 vaccine exports?

10:30 Does the Serum and Biocon Biologics combination create a globally formidable force?

12:52 Challenges for regulators, companies and governments as the disease becomes endemic


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(Also see "Global Herd Immunity Against COVID-19 Unlikely, Says Ebola Vaccine Developer" - Scrip, 20 Jul, 2021.)

(Also see "AstraZeneca & Sputnik V COVID-19 Vaccine Combo To Enter Trial" - Scrip, 5 Feb, 2021.)

(Also see "France To Replace AstraZeneca Booster With mRNA Jab In Under-55s" - Pink Sheet, 12 Apr, 2021.)

(Also see "UK Travel Rule Sparks Row As India Seeks To Resume COVID-19 Vaccine Diplomacy" - Scrip, 22 Sep, 2021.)

(Also see "Biocon-Serum Combine Forces, mRNA Opportunities On Radar" - Scrip, 17 Sep, 2021.)

(Also see "Zydus Cadila Turns DNA Pioneer With COVID-19 Vaccine Approval" - Scrip, 24 Aug, 2021.)


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