India’s Covishield-maker Serum to supply Ebola vaccine for Uganda to survive latest outbreak

The Serum Institute of India is the top vaccine maker globally, and is producing 30,000 doses of Ebola vaccine for Uganda.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Monday, October 17, 2022, 04:49 PM IST
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Adar Poonawalla headed Serum's successful battle against covid. |

Serum Institute of India’s status was catapulted from a major pharma company to a name that epitomised hope amid covid gloom, after it announced the development of Covishield vaccine in collaboration with AstraZeneca. As India has surged forward to administer more than a billion doses of covid vaccines Covishield as well as Covaxin, SII has a stock of 200 million doses in excess to support the global fight against the pandemic. After this achievement, Serum has now embarked on a new journey to help Uganda survive an outbreak of Ebola, by producing as many as 30,000 doses of vaccine against the virus.

Current vaccines fail against new strain

Although Uganda has fought back, it has been hit by the scarcity of a vaccine against another strain of Ebola which has emerged from Sudan. There have been 54 cases of Ebola, and the virus has killed 19 people in Uganda in a month. Serum has a proven record for developing effective vaccines against tetanus, measles, mumps and rubella among other ailments in the past 56 years.

How dangerous is Ebola?

Ebola was first detected during the 70s, and is spread not via coughing or sneezing, but when two people exchange sweat via physical contact. Other bodily fluids including urine and blood as well as breast milk can also lead to the transmission of Ebola virus. About 50 per cent people infected with Ebola can lose their lives, and the last major outbreak before Uganda was in Congo this year. Before that it had hit west African countries between 2014 and 2016 as well, and back then 11 cases were diagnosed in the US as well.

Serum to upgrade protection

The vaccine currently available in Africa was successful against the Zaire virus found in Congo, but is ineffective against the Sudan variant. As the world’s biggest vaccine manufacturer with 1.5 billion doses administered globally, Serum is gearing up to tackle devastation in Uganda.

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