Serum Institute of India and World Health Organization chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan have warned of a shortage in raw materials needed to manufacture coronavirus vaccines, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.
Serum Institute Chief Executive Cyrus Poonawalla on Thursday told a World Bank panel that an American law blocking the export of certain items, including bags and filters, could cause serious hindrance.
“The Novavax vaccine, which we’re a major manufacturer for, needs these items from the US,” Poonawalla said. “If we’re talking about building capacity all over the world, the sharing of these critical raw materials is going to become a critical limiting factor – nobody has been able to address this so far.”
The concerns of raw material shortage has risen because of the use of the Defense Production Act, a US federal law, that will boost supplies needed to make Pfizer’s vaccines, according to Bloomberg.
On Thursday, Poonawalla said that a discussion was needed with the Biden administration to explain to them that there was enough material to go around. “We are talking about having free global access to vaccines but if we can’t get the raw materials out of the US – that’s going to be a serious limiting factor.”
Swaminathan echoed Poonawalla’s views, saying that there was a shortage of materials needed to manufacture vaccines. “This is where again you need global agreement and coordination not to do export bans,” the WHO chief scientist said.
She said that the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations, WHO’s vaccine partners and the Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers Network will hold meetings in the next week to discuss these matters.
India on Friday reported 16,838 new coronavirus cases, pushing the country’s tally to 1,11,73,761, data from the health ministry showed. The toll jumped by 113 to 1,57,548. Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 11.55 crore people and killed over 25.69 lakh, according to John Hopkins University. Over 6.53 crore people have recovered from the infection in the world.