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Does Centre have Rs 80,000 crore for COVID-19 vaccine, asks Serum Institute's Adar Poonawalla

SII has partnered with five global pharma companies including AstraZeneca to produce 1 billion doses of its vaccine candidate – half of which it has pledged to India.

September 26, 2020 / 04:26 PM IST

Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India (SII), on September 26 asked if the government will have 'Rs 80,000 crore available' over the next one year, which is the amount, according to him, needed to buy and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine across the country.

"Quick question; will the government of India have 80,000 crores available, over the next one year? Because that's what @MoHFW_INDIA needs, to buy and distribute the vaccine to everyone in India. This is the next concerning challenge we need to tackle.  @PMOIndia," Poonawalla tweeted. 

SII has partnered with five global pharma companies including AstraZeneca to produce one billion doses of its vaccine candidate – half of which it has pledged to India; besides partnering with Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute to manufacture the Sputnik V vaccine.

SII presently produces 1.5 billion doses of polio, measles and influenza vaccines for 170 countries.

Earlier on September 14, Poonawalla had warned of a shortage of a COVID-19 vaccine for all till 2024 at least. He had said that it would take four to five years until "everyone on the planet" gets vaccinated.

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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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Poonawalla had estimated a need for close to 15 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine if a two-dose programme – similar to the measles vaccinations drive –  is initiated.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Sep 26, 2020 04:26 pm

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