Coronavirus | Serum Institute of India stocking emergency doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Coronavirus vaccine could roll out in three to four months says Serum Institute CEO

Pfizer and BioNTech are likely to seek emergency use approval from the USA government for their COVID-19 vaccine on November 20.

The vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca in collaboration with SII has shown promising results after being tested on candidates belonging to vulnerable age group, said the medical journal Lancet on Thursday. Poonawalla, during an interview at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, said the government will get the vaccine at a lower price, probably around $3-4 (Rs 220).

The private market will sell the vaccine priced between Rs 500 and Rs 600 per dose, informed the CEO.

Poonawalla said the vaccine would cost Rs 500 to Rs 600 for the public.

"As soon as the United Kingdom authorities - the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) - and the European EMEA (European Medicines Agency) approves it for emergency use, we will apply to the Drug Controller (DCGI) in India and, hopefully, very soon, we can also get an emergency use authorisation", Poonawalla said. "March-April for the general public", Poonawalla said. "But even in case of Bharat Biotech, if the company applies for emergency use approval after its data from phase 1 and 2 are published, the regulator can consider the same", the official said, indicating that by February-March, more than one vaccine is likely to get at least emergency use authorisation provided the regulator finds data generated from clinical trials satisfactory.

"We are basing the assumption of emergency licensure based on positive United Kingdom result if we have a good United Kingdom result coming in end of November-early December, we apply for an emergency licensure use".

"If all that goes according to plan, these are the timelines we are looking at". Currently, the company is working at 50 to 60 million dose capacity per month output.

The firm has already dedicated two facilities towards manufacturing this vaccine and will dedicate two more by February to double its monthly output for both India and COVAX.

He also indicated that the world's largest vaccine maker is aiming to produce 100 million doses of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 shot by February 2021 and to expedite the process they might add two more manufacturing facilities to the current production capacity.

Serum Institute does not plan to sign pacts with other countries now because it may not be able to provide vaccines to those countries, especially since India's 1 billion plus population will be the company's primary concern, he said. These additional facilities are now getting validated.

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