SII-produced Covid-19 Vaccine Still Six Months Away

Earlier this week, Adar Poonawalla, Chief Executive Officer of Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, said that an approval for SII’s vaccine by the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) was at least six months away, as the organisation is focussed on following due processes ensuring its safety and efficacy.  

“Once we are confident of a safe and good vaccine for India and the world, we will certainly announce it when we are licensed by the Drug Controller (DCGI). But that is still at least six months away from now,” Poonawalla said at a press conference. He added that the trials for the vaccine will be over only by the end of the year.

SII is in a partnership with British-Swedish drug maker AstraZenaca to manufacture and supply the vaccine being developed by University of Oxford. Under the pact, SII will supply 1 billion doses of the vaccine in India and other low and middle-income countries, with a commitment to providing 400 million before the end of 2020.

The vaccine being developed by University of Oxford is currently in the most advanced stage of clinical trial with ongoing studies of phase 2 and phase 3 with about 10,000 participants. The vaccine is widely expected to be the first for launch. Thus far, the vaccine has shown positive results in the on-going trials. One could be optimistic that it would turn out to be an effective vaccine for Covid-19. Trials will be conducted in India as well.

Adar Poonawalla also mentioned in passing the letter written by Indian Council of Medical Research Director General, Balram Bhargava, to Bharat Biotech International Ltd over speeding up the trials for ‘Covaxin’ to launch it by 15 August, 2020. ‘Covaxin’ is jointly developed by Bharat Biotech and ICMR’s National Institute of Virology in Pune.

“Recently, there was a news about a vaccine candidate which is being rushed. We don’t want to rush anything. We want to ensure safety and efficacy,” Poonawalla said at the unveiling of MyLab Discovery Solution’s ‘Compact XL’ testing system. He had invested in Mylab along with Abhijit Pawar, Chairman, Impact Investor Group AP Globale, in April, 2020.

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