Serum Institute plans to manufacture one billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine over next year
Adar Poonawal, CEO of Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, said on Wednesday that he is hopeful of developing a Covid-19 vaccine by October-November this year and that the institute plans to manufacture one billion doses of the vaccine over the coming year. The institute has partnered with biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to manufacture the experimental Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by the University of Oxford and has received a go-ahead from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) to manufacture its indigenously developed pneumococcal vaccine.
On Wednesday, Poonawalla interacted with Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik through video conferencing and expressed optimism that the Covid-19 vaccine could be ready by October-November this year and the next phase of the trial can start in mid-August in India.
“In India, the next phase trial will start in mid-August and the vaccine will be ready by October-November this year,” he was seen saying in a video clip released by the Odisha CMO.
“We will be going for large scale manufacturing in mid-August-early-August… By the end of this year, we should be able to produce 3 to 4 million doses come the end of December. That’s the target and I hope we can do that,” Poonawalla said in an interview to a news channel.
The company will manufacture up to 70 million doses of the vaccine per month up to October as part of the special permission and plans to take it up to 100 million per month by December so that it is ready to hit the market once the final approvals are in place.
“If this goes to plan, the phase three trials will take two months after the patients get injected and the vaccine gets a final nod by November, he said, adding that in such a scenario, it can get introduced either in the “first quarter of 2021”.
Poonawala said that the vaccine will be priced in a manner so that it is affordable. “We are planning to put it at about Rs 1000 or less than that,” he noted.
AstraZeneca has tied up with Pune-based Serum Institute to manufacture and supply the vaccine to India and more than 60 other countries having a combined population of 3 billion.
Coronavirus has infected over 15 million people across the globe of which over 6 lakh people have died. The number of recoveries across the globe stands at over 9 lakh. With over 12 lakh Covid-19 cases, India stands third on the global Covid-19 tally.
(With inputs from PTI)