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According to people with knowledge of the situation, Indian government scientists are in talks with domestic vaccine producers for a bivalent Covid-19 dose. This is similar to the strategy used by US pharmaceutical company Moderna for its shot, which this week became the first updated coronavirus vaccine in the world.

For what officials refer to as a second-generation vaccine, the department of biotechnology has been in contact with manufacturers. At least two businesses, Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech, said they were developing prototypes.

The representative also mentioned that the department was in discussions with five pharmaceutical companies and research organisations. There is a need for an updated vaccine, the official continued, declining to name the firms in discussions with the department. "It is too early to give out much detail, but considering that the newer variants of Covid-19 now have a greater immune escape, there is a need for updated vaccine," the official said.

The design of a bivalent vaccination takes into account two pathogens. For instance, Moderna's mRNA 1273.214 combines its 2020 product and a fresh one based on the extremely resilient Omicron variant 50/50, enabling it to develop immunity that guards against both versions of the virus.