Coronavirus vaccine: India to get a vaccine by December, says a confident SII head Adar Poonawalla
01/6India's COVID cases are surging every day
As COVID cases continue to record alarming one-day hikes in the country, scientists are working round the clock to develop a vaccine which will be able to put an end to the pandemic. One of the strongest leaders in the race is Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), headed by conglomerate Adar Poonawalla, which is overseeing production, testing and marketing of top vaccines under contention right now. SII is also hopeful of bringing out their own prototype, fully made in India by next year. The firm, which is one of the largest vaccine producers in the country has now also ambitiously promised that India will see a COVID-19 vaccine ready by December this year.
Speaking in an interview with CNBC-TV18, Poonawallah, who was mos
02/6A COVID-19 vaccine for India by December?
Speaking in an interview with CNBC-TV18, Poonawallah, who was most famously in news after signing pacts with British-Swedish pharma company AstraZeneca to test, mass-produce and market the Oxford University vaccine, AZD-1222, ambitiously claimed that they will be soon headed to trials of the vaccine and hope to have millions of doses ready by December.
"We are going to start trials in less than two weeks. The trial is in partnership with ICMR. We will start manufacturing vaccines by the end of August." SII has also claimed to have already ramped up production to have millions of doses ready for developed and developing countries.
03/6Testing centres selected across the country
The deal has been signed with ICMR and DCGI in the loop. Several trial centres around the world have been selected pan India for the same wherein 3000-4000 volunteers will be dosed with the experimental vaccine in a randomized control trial. The testing will be done in two phases- phase II and III to expedite the process.
04/6Oxford vaccine in Phase III of trials
Oxford backed vaccine is currently in its Phase III of testing, which has been outsourced to countries like Brazil and the US. As per reports, the vaccine has been showing promising results as expected.
Serum Institute was also recently in the news for a tie-up with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation) which will allow it to accelerate and manufacture hundreds of millions of doses for low-income countries in need. The vaccine alliance will also allow grant Poonawalla's firm to get required funding for the same, an estimated $150 million dollars to strategize marketing and production.
05/6Pricing of the vaccine
Ever since news of the Oxford trials and availability was announced in India, there has been a lot of buzz around the costing of the vaccine. While most vaccine makers have attested to capping the costs as per 'pandemic pricing', Serum Institute, which will be marketing the vaccine as 'Covishield' in India said that the pricing will be kept extremely affordable, costing less than Rs. 250 a dose.
"$3 is a special price because of the funding we received. Pricing of the vaccine will be slightly higher once licenses are in place. Final pricing for the vaccine will be announced in two months," The partnership with GAVI will allow SII to deliver doses for at least 92 at-risk countries in the near future and get one step closer to fighting the worries of inequitable distribution.
06/6Serum Institute signs pacts with Novavax
Apart from Oxford-AstraZeneca, Serum Institute has also inked pacts with American vaccine maker, Novavax to accelerate work on the production. The firm had also tied up with a medical start-up, Mylab to supply millions of COVID-testing kits in the country.