‘If you want to blow your money up’: What Adar Poonawalla’s father told him before he took Covid-19 vaccine ‘gamble’
Stakes are high on Adar Poonawalla’s Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine producer by volume, as it has already made 40 million doses of Astrazeneca’s potential Covid-19 vaccine and is starting production of a few others. So far, there has been no adverse impact reported during the trials in India. SII has announced the completion of the enrolment of participants in phase 3, which is also the final phase of trial.
But this is not the end. The Pune-based pharma company will soon move to produce other vaccine shots.
In an interview to Washington Post, Adar Poonawalla has revealed that he has put $250 million of his family’s fortune. In the interview, Adar has said his father Cyrus Poonawalla, who is known as the vaccine king of India, was one of the early critics who doubted where putting so much money won’t be much of a gamble. “He said: ‘Look, it’s your money. If you want to blow it up, fine.’” Adar Poonawalla recounted his father’s first reaction.
In the interview, Adar has also busted two vaccine myths: one, there will be one successful vaccine candidate which will ensure immunity for a definite period of time, two, the world will be immunized two, three years. He said it won’t be done until 2024, and there will be no one vaccine. The immunity period that a vaccine could assure is still darkness, Adar has said.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Adar decided to go all out. According to his plan, after Covishield (the Oxford vaccine), there will be at least one vaccine every quarter. The Poonawallas have floated a new company as well — Serum Institute of Life Sciences which will focus on research and development.