India to buy 10 million doses of Zydus Cadila's COVID-19 shot at about $4 each

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FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: A woman holds a medical syringe and a small bottle labelled "Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine

BENGALURU (Reuters) -India has placed an order for 10 million doses of Zydus Cadila's DNA COVID-19 vaccine at a price of 265 rupees ($3.57) per dose, the drugmaker said on Monday.

The three-dose vaccine, ZyCoV-D, was approved by the country's drug regulator in August for emergency use in adults and children aged 12 years and above.

As opposed to syringes, the shot is administered using a needle-free "PharmaJet" applicator, which will be sold at 93 rupees per dose.

"The needle-free application of the vaccination, we hope, will motivate many more to vaccinate and safeguard themselves from COVID-19," Sharvil Patel, managing director of Zydus, said in a filing to the stock exchanges.

India has so far administered nearly 1.09 billion vaccine doses to its adult population, of which 88% have received a version of AstraZeneca's shot by the Serum Institute of India.

The country is yet to start inoculating children. In this category, Zydus could face competition from Bharat Biotech's Covaxin once it gets approval from the drugs regulator, said Prashant Khadayate, a pharma analyst at GlobalData.

"It (Covaxin) will be preferred over Zydus Cadila's shot as it is a two dose and Zydus's is three dose," he said, adding Bharat Biotech has sufficient supply chain compared to Zydus.

The total cost to the government to inoculate a person with Zydus vaccine and applicator would be 1,074 rupees ($14.48).

The Serum Institute sells AstraZeneca vaccine to the state governments at 400 rupees a dose and to private hospitals for 600 rupees.

Bharat Biotech supplies its shot for 150 rupees a dose, while Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, the supplier of Sputnik V, has priced the Russian vaccine at 995 rupees.

($1 = 74.1900 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra, Shivani Singh and Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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