Serum Institute of India Chief Executive Officer Adar Poonawalla on Thursday said that his company is aiming to produce 100 million (10 crore) doses of international biopharma company AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s coronavirus vaccine for India by December, Bloomberg reported.
Poonawalla told Bloomberg in an interview that the Serum Institute may also get emergency use authorisation, if the result of final-stage trial of the vaccine is encouraging. The institute will produce at least 1 billion [100 crore] vaccines under its agreement with AstraZeneca.
The Serum Institute CEO said the initial amount of doses will go to India. After the vaccine gets full approval next year, the Serum Institute plans to distribute the vaccine on a 50-50 basis to India and Covax, a World Health Organization-backed global initiative for equitable distribution of vaccines.
Poonawalla said that his company is also planning to manufacture American firm Novavax’s vaccine candidate. “We were a bit concerned it was a big risk,” he told the news network. The Serum Institute CEO added that AstraZeneca and Novavax’s shots “are looking pretty good”.
- Covishield vaccine could be ‘realistic solution’ to coronavirus pandemic, says ICMR
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The Covishield vaccine has been developed at Serum Institute of India’s Pune laboratory with a master seed from Oxford University and AstraZeneca. The Indian Council of Medical Research has provided funds for the clinical trial sites of the vaccine.
On Thursday, the Indian Council of Medical Research said that Covishield could be a realistic solution to the pandemic. The ICMR also announced it had completed enrolment for phase 3 clinical trials of the vaccine candidate in India.
India has not yet signed a deal for a coronavirus vaccine so it is unclear when it will be available for use in the country, despite some leaders promising it will be available from as early as January. So far, many other nations including the US, UK, the European Union, Australia and Israel have made deals to buy millions of doses of the vaccines. Availability of the vaccine in India will be subject to approval by domestic regulators, and the Indian government agreeing to purchase them.
India’s coronavirus count rose to 87.28 lakh on Friday as it reported 44,879 new cases in the last day. The country’s toll went up by 547 to 1,28,668. India’s active cases stood at 4,84,547, while the number of recoveries reached 81,15,580.