Coronavirus | Serum Institute of India stocking emergency doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Cornelia Mascio
Novembre 22, 2020

Covishield' vaccine, one of India's top contender in its race to defeat the novel coronavirus is ready with its price points for the general public and the government and are also rallying for an emergency use authorization with the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI).

Poonawalla said the vaccine would cost Rs 500 to Rs 600 for the public.

Serum Institute is now conducting the phase-3 trial of Oxford-AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine candidate in India. The process, however, is contingent on robust efficacy data from Astrazeneca's trials in the United Kingdom, which is expect by the end of this month.

"We're basing the assumption of an emergency licensure based on positive United Kingdom results". So these are the caveats. "If we get a good United Kingdom result by the end of November or early December, we can apply for an emergency licensure use".

Speaking at the HT Leadership Summit 2020, Poonawalla said that initial doses will be administered to those who are more vulnerable to the disease, including frontline workers, health officials and the elderly, others would get inoculated by March or April 2021.

SII, which is the world's largest vaccine maker by volume, is trying to expand its capacity for manufacturing the vaccine to around 10 crore doses from around 5-6 crore doses now.

"But, till January, we will also have about 80 to 100 million doses in stock for supply if we get permission for emergency use by the government". "Right now I've dedicated two facilities (for Covishield production) and will dedicate another two facilities by January (or) February, which are getting validated", he said adding that the doubling of monthly output is for both India and COVAX.

On Monday, an EU official involved in the talks said the European Commission wanted to reach a deal with Moderna for the supply of millions of doses of its vaccine candidate for a price below United States dollars 25 per dose.

SII official says almost 100 million Covishield vials will be in stock by January 2021. He also assured that the vaccine shots will be much "affordable" and "cheaper" than other vaccines in the market.

With India seeking around 300-400 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine by July 2021, SII is "gearing up" to increase its output, and to still have "a few hundred million" doses left to offer to the COVAX mechanism led by Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, Poonawalla said.

In return, the company has received $300 million to fund the operation, a very risky one considering that the company would be manufacturing the vaccines even before it has received regulatory approval.

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