The search for the vaccine for the deadly COVID-19 disease has taken a major turn. Cyrus S. Poonawalla’s Serum Institute of India has confirmed that it will begin with the manufacture of the COVID-19 vaccine next month.
According to the institute, the solution is the candidate vaccine, which has been developed by the researchers at Oxford University. It is currently in the human trial phase.
Partnership with Oxford
As per a PTI report, the vaccine major has teamed up with Oxford University for its vaccine. It is planning to start production in a few weeks. The CEO of the institute, Adar Poonawalla said, “Our team has been working closely with Dr. Hill from Oxford University, and we are expecting to initiate production of the vaccine in 2-3 weeks.”
Manufacturing 5 million doses per month
Speaking about the production strategy, Poonawalla said that they are planning to produce around 5 million vaccine doses per month for the first 6 months. Post that, the production capacity would be increased to 10 million in order to meet the demands. No information regarding the price of the vaccine was given.
Everything depends on the success of the trials
This step by SII is rather a proactive move. The availability of the vaccine depends on the results of the human trials.
If the vaccine is confirmed to be safe and effective, it might be available in the market by September or October.
In case things do not go as planned, there might be some delays.
Poonawalla further said, “We expect the (COVID-19) vaccine to be out in the market by September – October, only if the trials are successful with the requisite safety and assured efficacy. We will be starting trials in India for this vaccine hopefully over the next 2-3 weeks’ time.”
The risk is taken to ensure the easy availability of vaccine
The risky move to begin production of the vaccine ahead of the trials’ conclusion has been taken to ensure we have sufficient doses to tackle the pandemic.
Poonawalla emphasized, “We have undertaken the decision to initiate manufacturing at our own risk.”
He also noted that they wanted to “to have a jump-start on manufacturing, to have enough doses available if the clinical trials prove successful.”
Currently, SII is working with regulatory authorities like ICMR and the Department of Biotechnology in order to get the necessary approvals for the vaccine trials and production.
The CEO also added that they were hoping to get the support of more industry partners in order to scale up the vaccine production and make it widely available in due time.