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HMD bags order to supply 265 million auto disposable syringes from government

The government has issued tenders to procure 350 million pieces of AD syringes to use in COVID-19 vaccination.

March 11, 2021 / 01:45 PM IST
Representative image: Reuters

Representative image: Reuters

Hindustan Syringes & Medical Devices (HMD), one of the largest manufacturers of disposable syringes in the world said it has won an order from the government to supply 265 million AD (auto disposable) syringes by September this year.

The government has issued tenders to procure 350 million pieces of AD syringes for use in COVID-19 vaccination.

HMD said it is also on track to finish the 3 orders received from the government on 0.5 ml AD syringes of 177.5 million pieces by March this year.

HMD is supplying Kojak AD syringes at about Rs 2  per piece in bulk.

HMD alone will be supplying over 440 million KOJAK syringes to the government for India’s massive vaccination drive alongside supplies of Dispovan brand syringes to the private hospitals and vaccination clinics.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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The company had received orders for 240 million KOJAK syringes for COVAX through UNICEF and 79 million for Brazil for Dispovan syringes through Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO). So far the company has shipped 140 million KOJAK syringes to COVAX. HMD has also recently sold 15 million syringes to the Japanese government.

Covid vaccination requires 0.3ml AD syringes for Pfizer’s vaccines and 0.5 ml AD Kojak for Astra Zeneca-Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech’s vaccines.

It is estimated the world would need 8 to 10 billion syringes for vaccinating the entire population.

HMD had invested Rs 100 crore in May 2020 to mass-produce Specialty syringes even before purchase orders were even in sight.

“We sensed a big opportunity in April 2020. We have successfully retooled our existing Dispovan disposable syringes production lines to use them to make KOJAK Auto Disable Syringes. We have had to rehire the 1000 people to replace those who had left us during the onset of Covid and train them the skills and quality consciousness," said Rajiv Nath, Managing Director of HMD.

"Fortunately our technology permits this flexibility of switching between these designs," Nath added.

From 500 million pieces per annum capacity of 0.5 ml AD syringes in June 2020, HMD is currently producing at 800 million per annum and hopes to achieve a capacity of 1 billion by June and 1.2 billion per annum by September this year for this one size alone.

"This is the size sought by public healthcare in India and most countries for Covid-19," Nath said.

At the moment HMD factories are cranking more than 3.75 lac syringes per hour in Faridabad industrial district in Haryana. HMD produces over 2.5 billion assorted syringes a year and plans to scale this up to 3 billion by July to ensure no shortages in India.

“India is our priority and comes first but we do have to honor our global commitments and play a balancing role. So, for now, we are allocating two-thirds capacity of KOJAK AD syringes to the government and one-third to our regular global UN clients. We are happy to complement Vaccines Diplomacy with Syringes Diplomacy and raise the Brand India flag in over 120 countries worldwide.” Nath said.

Nath added that there were challenges in ramping up capacity as the precision engineering demands are tremendous at these high speeds of production for which our suppliers in Switzerland, Germany Italy, Japan, etc usually take 9-12 months.
Viswanath Pilla is a business journalist with 14 years of reporting experience. Based in Mumbai, Pilla covers pharma, healthcare and infrastructure sectors for Moneycontrol.
first published: Mar 11, 2021 01:45 pm

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