Coronavirus in India: COVID-19 vaccine could be ready by December, says Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla
Coronavirus in India: COVID-19 vaccine could be ready by December, says Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla
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Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla on Wednesday told NDTV that the Oxford coronavirus vaccine could be ready as early as December and the first batch of 100 million doses should be available by the second or third quarter of 2021.

For the uninitiated, Pune-based SII is the world's largest manufacturer of vaccines and is producing the potential coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University in collaboration with British-Swedish pharma company AstraZeneca.

"If we don't go for an emergency license, our trials should be over by December and then maybe we can launch in India in January subject to the UK trial also being completed which it's on the verge on being completed," Poonawalla said. "We are aiming for 100 million available doses at first. This should be available by Q2-Q3 of 2021," he added.

Poonawalla further said the vaccine will be a two-dose vaccine. "The gap between the two doses will be 28 days," he said.

The SII CEO said that he cannot comment on the cost (of the vaccine) yet since they are in talks with the government. "But I would say it would be in the range of a couple of hundred rupees with the rest being absorbed by the government," he added.

Earlier, Poonawalla had said that as per the arrangement with AstraZeneca, SII will be making one billion doses of the vaccine over the next one year for India and other low-and-middle-income countries.

SII had also said it will not take profit from the vaccine. "In the interest of public health and as one of the largest vaccine producers it is our responsibility to make the vaccine affordable for the public at-large," Poonawalla had said.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Poonawalla had said, "It’s going to take four to five years until everyone gets the vaccine on this planet." He had also estimated that the world will need 15 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Meanwhile, the new coronavirus cases reported in the last 24 hours remained below 45,000, even as the total COVID-19 caseload inched closer to 80 lakh, the Union health ministry said on Wednesday.

The country's COVID-19 caseload mounted to 79,90,322 with 43,893 fresh cases being reported in a day, while the death toll climbed to 1,20,010 with 508 new fatalities, the ministry data updated at 8 AM on Wednesday showed.

A total of 72,59,509 people have recuperated from COVID-19 so far, pushing the national recovery rate to 90.85 per cent, while the case fatality rate stands at 1.50 per cent. The active cases of coronavirus infections remained below 7 lakh for six days in a row, it said.

There are 6,10,803 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country as on date, which comprises 7.64 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated. India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23 and 40 lakh on September 5. It went past 50 lakh on September 16, 60 lakh on September 28 and crossed 70 lakh on October 11.

According to ICMR, a cumulative total of 10,54,87,680 samples have been tested up to October 27, with 10,66,786 samples tested on Tuesday.

(With inputs from PTI)

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