‘August target for trial of Oxford vaccine’: Adar Poonawalla
The Pune-based Serum Institute of India will produce one billion doses of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine developed by Oxford University’s Jenner Institute and AstraZeneca, which published early results of trials on Monday that showed the vaccine was safe and produced an antibody response against the new coronavirus Sars-CoV2.
Human trials for the vaccine candidate in India are set to start in August this year.
Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer, Serum Institute of India (SII), which is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by number of doses produced and sold globally, spoke to deputy health editor Rhythma Kaul about his company’s plans to manufacture the vaccine in India to ensure equitable access to low- and middle-income countries.
How promising are the initial clinical trial results of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine?
The trials have shown promising results and we are extremely happy about it.
We will be applying for the licence for trials to the Indian regulator in a week’s time.
As soon as they grant us permission, we will begin with the trials for the vaccine in India. In addition, we will soon start manufacturing the vaccine in large volumes.
When do you expect to start human clinical trials of the vaccine candidate in India?
We are planning to start human trials in India around August 2020.
How many doses of vaccines will be produced in your Pune facility?
We plan to produce at one billion doses of the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine over the next one year.
What kind of partnership exists between Serum Institute of India and AstraZeneca?
At present, the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine is undergoing Phase-III clinical trials in different countries.
The Serum Institute of India has entered a manufacturing partnership with AstraZeneca to produce the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine in India.
Is it just for India, or are you also looking at markets outside the country?
The vaccines will be for India and middle- and low- income countries across the world.