Serum Institute of India (SII) can manufacture 700-800 million vaccine doses every year. said executive director Dr Suresh Jadhav.
India may get a COVID-19 vaccine by March 2021, provided regulators speed up the process as multiple manufacturers are working on it, said Dr Suresh Jadhav, the executive director of the Serum Institute of India.
"India is heading fast towards vaccine development, as two manufacturers are already in phase-3 trial and one in the phase-2 trial. Besides, more players are joining the race," the Indian Express quoted Jadhav as saying.
Speaking at the Vaccine Accessibility e-summit, Jadhav said that the SII could manufacture 700-800 million vaccine doses every year.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
Pune-based Serum Institute of India has partnered with AstraZeneca for manufacturing the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine candidate. SII is also conducting Phase 2 and 3 human clinical trials of the candidate in India.
"Although 55 percent of the Indian population is below 50 years of age, healthcare workers should get the vaccines first, followed by people over 60 years of age with comorbidities and the rest of the populace," he added.
The SII executive director further said that the institute will be ready with around 60-70 million of COVID-19 vaccines before January 2021.
"However, the coronavirus vaccine will be released in the market in 2021 after all clearances. Thereafter, we will produce more and more dosages, with the government’s permission," Jadhav said.
Concurring with Jadhav, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO), also said that a vaccine against COVID-19 should be ready by the second quarter of 2021.
"By January 2021 we should be able to see results, and by the second quarter of 2021 the vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 should be ready," she told the newspaper.
Talking about herd immunity, Swaminathan said that it is not a good idea to try to achieve herd immunity by letting COVID-19 infection run wild in the population.
"We need to talk in terms of a vaccine. With a vaccine, one can achieve immunity and herd immunity safely. Through natural infection, herd immunity can be achieved, but it will be at a great human cost," she said, as per the report.
So far, India has recorded 73,70,468 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 1,12,161 deaths. Globally, there have been over 3.92 crore confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 11.02 lakh people have died so far.Click here for Moneycontrol's full coverage of the COVID-19 vaccine