KOLKATA (India) — The world’s biggest vaccine manufacturer, the Serum Institute of India says it is ready to churn out hundreds of millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine once it received Emergency Use Authorization.
The SII is among the other vaccine manufacturers around the world that have secured supplying and manufacturing contracts with AstraZeneca – the British pharma giant which is co-developing a COVID-19 vaccine candidate with Oxford University.
As India steadily advance toward a more crippling situation owing to the pandemic, the widespread use of vaccination to stem the spread of the novel virus is being anticipated as an emancipating move.
India’s novel coronavirus caseload is the second-biggest after the United States, at more than 9.5 million.
According to a Reuters report, the Serum Institute has already manufactured hundreds of thousands of doses of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine under a manufacturing deal with AstraZeneca.
SII’s chief Adar Poonawaala said as soon as the UK government approves the vaccine and makes it available for the masses, the company will seek EUA in India as well.
“It’s been a Herculean task and we are very happy now that we are almost now on autopilot waiting just for the vaccine results to come. Then we can churn out hundreds of millions more of the vaccine,” Poonawaala told a conference on Thursday.
He revealed the vaccine will be priced at $5 – $6 in the international market but India will get it at a much lower price thanks to the magnanimous quantity the nation would need.
The healthcare workers and the elderly will be the first to receive the jab, should the vaccination begin early next year, and it is projected to take some two-three years to entirely immunize the nation’s 1.4 billion population.
The manufacturing has apparently started when the experimental jab is still awaiting final conclusion reports from the large scale clinical trials.
A recent update on the efficacy of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine gave affirmative results. As per the report of the phase-two study published in The Lancet, Thursday, it found the jab dubbed ‘ChAdOx1 nCoV-19’ enacted a robust immune response in healthy adults aged 18-55, 56-69, and 70 and over.
Prior to promising results from Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine, two other US-based vaccine candidates – Pfizer and Moderna Inc. announced their vaccines showed over 93% efficacy in clinical trials.
Last week, the head of committee advising PM Modi on Covid’s response said India is closely following the development of Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines, but supply and logistics would be a huge challenge from overseas, Reuters reported.
In the last 24-hours, India has recorded a spike in the number of cases, after weeks of subduing infections across the country. Experts alleged faulty testing could reflect the sudden low count.
45,882 new people fell ill from the novel coronavirus in the last 24-hours and 584 died from the disease.