CEO of the world's biggest vaccine producer, Serum Institute of India (SII), Adar Poonawalla has warned that it will take four to five years until everyone on the planet gets a COVID-19 vaccine. He added that the pharmaceutical companies are not increasing production capacity fast enough to produce vaccines for everyone before 2024.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Poonawalla said, "It’s going to take four to five years until everyone gets the vaccine on this planet." He also estimated that the world will need 15 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine if it is a two-dose vaccine like the one for measles.
Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) has partnered with five global pharmaceutical firms, including AstraZeneca and Novavax, to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. They may also partner with Russia's Gamaleya Research Institute to produce the 'Sputnik V' vaccine.
The SII has committed to manufacturing one billion doses of the vaccine. However, in the interview, Poonawalla said, "I know the world wants to be optimistic on it... [but] I have not heard of anyone coming even close to that [level] right now.”
Meanwhile, after the clinical trials for AstraZeneca and Oxford University coronavirus vaccine resumed on Saturday in the UK, the SII said it will also resume the trials in India once Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) gives it requisite permission. AstraZeneca and Oxford University had on September 6 paused the trial of coronavirus vaccine (recombinant) as a volunteer developed an unexplained illness.