Clinical-stage biotechnology company Ocugen, Inc. (NASDAQ: OCGN) saw a 22% rise in shares this morning following the news that the COVID-19 vaccine it has been commercializing alongside India’s Bharat Biotech has been approved for emergency use in children ages 2 to 18 by India’s Subject Expert Committee. The vaccine, called Covaxin, will have to be approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) next, but a response is expected in the upcoming days.
According to the WHO, there have been close to 34 million COVID-19 cases in India since January 2020 and over 450,000 deaths. About 29% of eligible adults in India have received a vaccine and more than 110 million doses of Covaxin have been administered as reported by Reuters; however, the legitimacy of the vaccine globally is completely contingent on the WHO’s approval.
In the wake of the Delta variant’s emergence in June, Bharat Biotech began trials on children, and the need is still dire. Covaxin would be the first vaccine available in India for children ages 2 to 12, and those ages 12 to 18 would have another option in addition to Covaxin.
Alongside Pfizer, Covaxin is one of the few vaccines granted emergency use authorization, and though it faces many competitors in the U.S. and Canada, this development is at least a positive one in India as it struggles to maintain the virus. As far as profitability for Ocugen, and even Bharat Biotech, analysts think this emergency use listing will benefit the validity of the drug but not have much bearing on the overall stocks for the two companies.
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