Won’t be enough Covid-19 vaccines till 2024: Serum Institute’s Adar Poonawalla

Adar Poonawalla’s remarks came a day after Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said a vaccine against the coronavirus disease would be ready by early next year.
(Photo courtesy: Serum Institute of India)
(Photo courtesy: Serum Institute of India)
Updated on Sep 15, 2020 02:48 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kanishka Sarkar

Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive of Serum Institute of India (SII), has warned there won’t be enough vaccines against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) for everyone in the world till the end of 2024, according to a report on Monday.

The CEO of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer has estimated that the world will need around 15 billion doses of the Covid-19 shot if it is a two-dose vaccine. “It’s going to take four to five years until everyone gets the vaccine on this planet,” Poonawalla told the Financial Times.

The Pune-based pharma firm has partnered with five international pharmaceutical firms, including AstraZeneca and Novavax, to develop a Covid-19 vaccine and committed to producing one billion doses, of which it has pledged half to India.

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Poonawalla’s remarks came a day after Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said a vaccine against the coronavirus disease would be ready by early next year. “It may be ready by the first quarter of next year,” he had said.

On SII’s word to produce a billion doses, he said that the commitment far exceeded the capacity of other vaccine producers. “I know the world wants to be optimistic on it... [but] I have not heard of anyone coming even close to that [level] right now,” he told the business daily in a video call from London.

The Financial Times reported that as part of SII’s agreement with AstraZeneca, the firm will aim to produce vaccine doses that cost around $3 for 68 countries and under its agreement with Novavax, for 92 countries.

The company may also partner with Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute to manufacture the Sputnik vaccine, according to the newspaper.

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Last week, human trials of the Oxford vaccine candidate by AstraZeneca were halted after a volunteer fell sick in the UK following which the Serum Institute of India also paused the trials as it was issued a show-cause notice by the Drug Controller of India. The trials, however, have resumed in Britain.

After the human trials of the Oxford vaccine resumed in the UK late last week, Poonawala had tweeted, “As I’d mentioned earlier, we should not jump to conclusions until the trials are fully concluded. The recent chain of events are a clear example why we should not bias the process and should respect the process till the end.”

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Sunday, October 17, 2021