Business Sight – Serum Institute to supply India with 50 percent of Covishield vaccine

Countless prayers for coronavirus vaccine are finally manifesting as vaccine candidates across the globe are showing promising results. This is quite a big relief for people all over the world. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak, scientists around the globe are trying to develop a vaccine that can put an end of Coronavirus pandemic once and for all. Researchers of some countries managed to develop a potential vaccine and are in the middle of the trails whereas, some other countries are still in pre-clinical trials.

While the number of Covid-19 cases is constantly climbing, the number of recoveries is also exploding. Some states in India are reporting over 80 percent recovery rate. India is also developing its first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine – Covaxin, whose human trials are currently going on. With a lot of candidates showing positive results, people are hoping to hear the good news soon.

All the hopes are now pinned on a vaccine that is likely to come out by November or December of this year. A day after the Lancet published the results of the first human trials, Serum Institute of India CEO – Mr. Adar Poonawalla said that 50 percent of the vaccines that will be manufactured by the company will be supplied to India. The vaccine which is being developed by Oxford University will be purchased by governments and people will receive them free of cost via immunization programs.

With the trails of the Covid-19 vaccine showing encouraging results, Mr. Adar has said that at least 300 to 400 million doses of the potential vaccine will be ready by the end of the year. The vaccine – Covishield is being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University in partnership with the Serum Institute of India.

Covishield is going to be the first Covid-19 vaccine the company is hoping to launch if trails are successful in the UK and India. Mr. Adar also said that the company expects the vaccine to reach the people of India by the first quarter of 2021. The firm is seeking regulatory clearances to conduct Phase III human trails of Covishield in India so that the vaccine can be manufactured at mass scale.

The company plans to supply India with 50 percent of the volume and the other half to other countries on a pro-rata basis every month. Mr. Adar stressed that the pandemic is a global crisis and hence, people around the world need to be protected. He also added that it is important that the firm equally immunize the entire world.

The company is focused on the ethical way of distribution that is, the elderly and the immune-compromised: those who are most vulnerable to the infection should get the vaccine first. Serum Institute has included frontline healthcare workers in the priority list while healthy adults are more likely to get the vaccine later on.

The provisional results of Phase I/II of COV001 trails which is led by Oxford University showed the vaccine was tolerant and generated robust immune responses against the virus. AstraZeneca said in a statement that all evaluated participants had good immune responses against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Serum Institute is hoping to keep the price at around Rs. 1,000 or less per dose. Mr. Adar also commented that it is less likely that the individuals will have to buy the coronavirus vaccine as the governments would buy and then distribute for free. The firm is committed to providing the vaccine at reasonable prices as it does not want to make a profit in the pandemic state. Only when the Covid pandemic is over will the company look at a commercial price and the vaccine will be available in the market like any drug.