PM Narendra Modi at Serum Institute of India, Pune on Saturday
PM Narendra Modi at Serum Institute of India, Pune on Saturday
Photo: PIB

Mumbai: Amid the talk of a fresh wave, the Serum Institute will apply within two weeks for the emergency use of the coronavirus vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and pharma giant AstraZeneca. This was announced by the chief executive officer Adar Poonawalla after meeting with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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As of now, we don't have anything in writing with the Government of India on how many doses they will purchase but the indication is that it would be 300-400 million doses by July 2021
Adar Poonawalla

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“We are in the process of applying in the next two weeks for the emergency use,” he added.

The Pune-based Serum Institute has joined hands with global pharma giant AstraZeneca to produce COVID-19 vaccine by University of Oxford for low-and-middle income countries. Dubbed as Covishield, the COVID-19 vaccine is currently in the Phase III clinical trial in India.

Poonawalla informed that at the moment the trials were more than enough for the efficacy. ‘’We might look at doing trials on groups less than 18 years of age later on," he said.

According to Poonawalla, the COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed initially in India, then the company will look at the COVAX countries which are mainly in Africa. ‘’Our priority is India & COVAX countries," he said. He added that AstraZeneca and Oxford will cater to the United Kingdom and European markets.

Earlier, Modi visited the Serum Institute complex and reviewed the development of the coronavirus vaccine and the manufacturing process. In a tweet he said, ‘’ Had a good interaction with the team at Serum Institute of India. They shared details about their progress so far on how they plan to further ramp up vaccine manufacturing. Also took a look at their manufacturing facility.’’ PM Modi began his three-city vaccine tour with a visit to pharma major Zydus Cadila's plant in Gujarat, then flew to Hyderabad where he visited Bharat BioTech, which is working on Covaxin, and finally proceeded to Pune.

Poonawala tweeted, ‘’ Sri @narendramodi ji, it was a great honour for you to have spared the time, to visit us here at @SerumInstIndia to discuss in detail, the complex challenges yet to come and review the vaccine production status.’’

Last week, Poonawalla had said that only time will tell how long the immunity might last. He hinted that it will be possible to comment after six months. He further said many private players will have to be roped in to associate with the government for increase in the vaccine distribution.

Meanwhile, NCP MP Supriya Sule taunted that outsiders should not claim the vaccine on corona made by Punekars. She thereby indicated that the Centre should not stake its claim on the proposed vaccine being produced at the Serum Institute as the latter deserves a due credit for the same.

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