Covishield: A timeline of the Covid-19 vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off India’s mass Covid-19 vaccination drive on Saturday with two vaccines - Serum Institute of India’s (SII) Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s homegrown vaccine Covaxin - which were approved by the country's drugs regulator earlier this month. There were 191,181 people, including SII's chief executive officer Adar Poonawalla, who received the jabs on the first day of vaccinations.
Poonawalla took it to Twitter to wish PM Modi for the vaccination programme as he hailed the drive as the “world’s largest COVID vaccination roll-out”. “It brings me great pride that #COVISHIELD is part of this historic effort & to endorse it’s safety & efficacy, I join our health workers in taking the vaccine myself,” he said.
Watch: SII CEO gets Covid vaccine on Day 1, says 'endorsing safety, efficacy'
Covishield has been developed by the University of Oxford along with British pharmaceutical major AstraZeneca. Pune-based SII, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer in terms of numbers, partnered with the Oxford University to manufacture their Covid-19 vaccine in India. The SII produced 5,000 doses of the vaccine per minute in their assembly lines.
Here is the timeline of important events as SII manufactured the vaccine:
April 2020: SII announced its partnership with Oxford University to manufacture their Covid-19 vaccine. "We have partnered with the Oxford University vaccine project as one of the seven global institutions manufacturing the vaccine," Poonawalla had said in a statement, according to news agency PTI.
May 2020: A 1ml vial with the cellular material for the much-anticipated vaccine arrives at SII from Oxford, England.
August 2020: Phase-III clinical trials of Covishield began in India.
September 2020: AstraZeneca observed a severe adverse reaction in one of the participants in their trial program and paused clinical trials in other countries. Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) issued a show-cause notice to SII citing the failure of the company to inform about the same. The company responded saying no such effects were observed in India and the program was allowed to resume in the same month.
November 2020: AstraZeneca declared their vaccine candidate was observed to be 70 per cent efficient based on data from trial results. It also said efficacy increased when a different dosage regimen was followed. SII announced that the company is moving to apply for an emergency use license within two weeks.
December 2020: A trial volunteer from Chennai in Tamil Nadu reported severe adverse reaction to Covishield. SII denied any correlation between the vaccine and the condition of the volunteer.
January 2021: DCGI granted an emergency use approval (EUA) for Covishield vaccine in India. Doses of the vaccines were transported from Pune to multiple hubs in the country.
January 16, 2021: The first dose of the vaccine was administered to recipients based on a priority list prepared by the government.
(With agency inputs)