French specialty vaccine company Valneva is planning to bring its chikungunya vaccine, the world’s first, to India.

“Our objective is to make this vaccine available in all the countries were it is needed, India included. We are indeed planning to have regulatory interactions with The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) to discuss how and when we could make this vaccine available in India,” a Valneva spokesperson told businessline.

A little more than a week ago, the United States Food and Drug Administration had approved Valneva’s single-shot Ixchiq, in individuals 18 years and older, who were at an increased risk of exposure to the chikungunya virus.

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Confirming that they were planning to make the vaccine available in India through their partnership with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Instituto Butantan in Brazil, the spokesperson said the timeline would be determined after regulatory interactions with the DCGI.

Indian vaccine makers silent

Responding to a query on whether CEPI was collaborating with vaccine manufacturers in India to bring this chikungunya vaccine to developing countries, a spokesperson for CEPI told this paper, “To date, tech transfer to Brazil’s Instituto Butantan has been agreed and discussions are ongoing with potential manufacturing partners in Asia.”

Investment from CEPI and the European Union will enable access to the vaccine “by accelerating regulatory approval in endemic regions and supporting technology transfer to a Global South vaccine manufacturers to facilitate access to the vaccine in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) at affordable pricing,” the spokesperson added.

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Indian vaccine makers Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute have not commented on the development or their possible involvement. Biological E has indicated on its site that Valneva is a partner. In fact, Bharat Bio had started its Phase II/III trial in Costa Rica, in a partnership led by the International Vaccine Institute, the company had said in August 2021.

The mosquito-borne chikungunya virus is primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, and the infection is being reported from new geographical areas causing a global increase in prevalence, the USFDA had said, on approving the vaccine. Presently, the highest risk of infection is in the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, South-East Asia, and parts of the Americas where chikungunya virus-carrying mosquitos are endemic, it added.