Talks are on between the Indian government and pharmaceutical company Pfizer for likely collaboration in procuring the latter's vaccine, said Director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences Dr. Randeep Guleria at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.
The vaccine developed by Pfizer in collaboration with Germany’s BioNTech has exhibited about 95% effectiveness against COVID-19 in the final stage of clinical trials but has to be stored at super cool temperature of about (-)70 degrees Celsius.
India currently lacks infrastructure for storage of vaccines at such low temperatures.
Currently, clinical trials for an effective vaccine for Indian population are being carried out by Serum Institute of India, Cadila Healthcare Ltd, Bharat Biotech International Ltd, Reliance Life Sciences Pvt Ltd, Aurobindo Pharma Ltd, Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd and Biological E Ltd.
Additionally, Dr Reddy's Laboratories has entered into an agreement with Russian Direct Investment Fund to conduct trials of the Sputnik vaccine for distribution in India. Russian authorities have claimed that the vaccine is 92% effective against COVID-19.
Guleria emphasised that by end of next year, at least 30-40% of the people will need to be vaccinated; of them, the first priority will be given to health care workers and the elderly.