The vaccine against the coronavirus being developed at the Oxford University in the United Kingdom is likely to arrive in India by November and will be worth around Rs 1,000, NDTV reported, citing the Indian company collaborating with the British experts.
The Serum Institute of India on Monday said it will apply for a licence to start clinical trials of the coronavirus vaccine developed at Oxford University. The Pune firm is the world’s largest vaccine maker in terms of the number of doses produced and sold globally. It has partnered with biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to mass produce the Oxford vaccine. India is among the largest manufacturer of generic drugs and vaccines in the world.
“We are confident on going on to the Phase 3 trials in India in August and we forecast that it will take probably two to two-and-half months to complete,” Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer of Serum Institute of India said. “By November, we hope to launch the vaccine if the trials are positive and if the Drug Controller of India blesses it and says it is safe and effective.”
The Serum Institute expects to vaccinate everyone in India in two years. Half of the stock of the Covishield vaccine manufactured at the institute will be exported, which implies out of around 60 million vials made every month, India will receive 30 million.
Poonawalla cited experts to explain that unless the entire world is vaccinated and those vulnerable are protected, the fear of the outbreak will not allow the economy to open up everywhere. He added that this meant India, a country dependent on imports and exports, would also be affected.
The Serum Institute CEO said that a lot of hospitals in Mumbai and Pune have been roped in for the phase three trials, adding that nearly 5,000 people will be part of it. “We want to make sure we don’t rush so we make the best vaccine; safest and which gives you the longest term protection so you don’t have to keep come back for a shot,” Poonawalla said in an interview with News18. “That’s why we bet on five other candidates as well. Almost every two months we plan to launch a new Covid vaccine.”
On the timeline for the vaccine to hit the markets, Poonawalla said they were expecting it by December and first quarter of 2021. “Because to reach all the parts of the country, it is going to take some time,” he added. “So once you make a product to have it tested yourself in your company and then it goes CDI which is the national release in Kasauli and after that only can a batch be released to the public.”
On the efficacy of the Oxford vaccine, Poonawalla told NDTV that all other vaccines are usually 70% to 80% effective. However, it will require time to prove its effectiveness. The Serum Institute CEO said it was too early to comment on the vaccine’s cost, but “we will keep it under Rs 1,000”, according to The New Indian Express.