New Delhi: Pune-based Serum Institute of India on Monday expressed hope at the possibility of Covid-19 vaccine – Covishield receiving the regulatory approval in “few days”, while emphasising that the company has a massive stockpile 40-50 million doses.
The drug maker has partnered with global pharma giant AstraZeneca and the Oxford University for making the vaccine and is conducting trials in India. Indian drug regulatory body is looking at the UK’s approval to this vaccine before giving nod for Emergency Use Authorization to its Indian counterpart developed by SII.
“We have 40-50 million doses of Covishield stockpiled. Once we get regulatory approvals in a few days, it will be down to the government to decide how much they can take and how fast. We will be producing around 300 million doses by July 2021,” Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla told a press conference.
He added, “India is a part of COVAX. We will keep giving 50 per cent of everything we make to India and to COVAX at the same time. India has such a large population that we will probably end up giving the majority of those 50 million doses to India first.”
‘COVAX’ was launched in April by the WHO, Gavi Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations for a solution to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines and equitable access to them for people in all countries.
India currently has eight Covid-19 vaccine candidates, including three indigenous vaccines, under different stages of clinical trials which could be ready for authorization in near future. Serum Institute-Oxford’s Covishield, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Pfizer vaccine are in the fray for emergency use authorisation.
The Central government plans to vaccinate nearly 30 crore people in the first phase of drive. It will be offered to one crore healthcare workers, along with 2 crore frontline and essential workers and 27 crore elderly, mostly above the age of 50 years with comorbidities.
“The first six months of 2021 will see a shortage globally. Nobody can help that. But we will see easing off by August-September 2021 as other vaccine manufactures also being able to supply,” Poonawalla added.