5 | India to get 100 million AstraZeneca's vaccine shots by December 2020, say Reports: With Covishield, the coronavirus vaccine candidate jointly developed by the University of Oxford and British firm AstraZeneca entering phase 3 trials, Serum Institute of India (SII) has started ramping up the production of the vaccine. The world's largest vaccine maker plans to have 100 million doses ready by December 2020 for an inoculation drive that could begin across India that same month, Bloomberg reported on November 13.
While the global race to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus infection continues, India has begun making a priority list of those who should get the first vaccine shots once it becomes available.
The work to prepare the “approach paper” has already been started, said a Business Standard report citing a member of the expert group on vaccine administration preparing the list.
However, for this, no nationwide sero-prevalence study is to be conducted, said the member of the group.
According to the report, some experts had felt that India may use seroprevalence data to remove people who had developed antibodies from being given a vaccine shot.
E Sreekumar, chief scientific officer at the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, said there is a possibility that when the COVID-19 vaccine is almost ready, a nationwide seroprevalence study may be conducted to understand the spread of the infection amongst the population.
“This data may help to shape policies and also weed out people who have already developed antibodies against the virus and, therefore, don’t need a vaccine shot,” Sreekumar told the publication.
The expert group, comprising members from different government departments and domain experts, is also in contact with five domestic and three multinational vaccine makers to understand how soon a COVID-19 vaccine will be ready, said the report.
The five indigenous vaccine makers, Panacea Biotec, Biological E and Indian Immunologicals are working on their respective vaccines.
The other three — Serum Institute of India (SII), Cadila Healthcare, and Bharat Biotech — are in the advanced stages of vaccine development. Their vaccine candidates have reached the human clinical trial stage.
The SII has partnered with British drug major AstraZeneca, which is working with the University of Oxford and with Novavax for their COVID-19 vaccine candidates.
The multinational vaccine makers, who have been contacted by the expert group, are Sanofi Pasteur and Pfizer. Sanofi Pasteur is working on a recombinant DNA technology-based vaccine while Pfizer is working with German partner BioNTech, the report stated.
Also, the group is in talks with a “fill-and-finish” company that would package the vaccine, the report stated.