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Serum Institute 'hopeful' of EUA by December-end, India vaccination drive could begin from January, says Adar Poonawalla

“By September-October 2021 hopefully there will be enough vaccines for everyone and normal life can return,” Adar Poonawalla said.

December 12, 2020 / 01:09 PM IST
Adar Poonawalla (File Image: Twitter)

Adar Poonawalla (File Image: Twitter)

The Serum Institute of India (SII) is “hopeful” of getting emergency use authorisation (EUA) for its vaccine by December-end, as per CEO Adar Poonawalla.

“We might get emergency license by this month-end, but licence for wider use might come at a later date. But, we are confident that if the regulators give a nod, India's vaccination drive can start by January 2021,” Poonawalla said at the Economic Times Global Business Summit.

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He further said that the Health Ministry is planning to vaccinate 20-30 percent of India’s population to reach a critical mass, which once happens “will can hopefully see confidence and sentiments coming back.” The government wants 300-400 million doses by July 2021, he added.

“By September-October 2021 hopefully there will be enough vaccines for everyone and normal life can return,” he said.


COVID-19 Vaccine

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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.

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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.

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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 said SII “is preparing” to manufacture enough vaccines for the government and private markets, and has signed an agreement with Novavax to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines. It aims to finish Phase 3 clinical trial for Novavax by Q1FY21.

However, Poonawalla’s timelines could be a bit optimistic, reports find, as state governments are planning to provide only 100 shots per day at each vaccination site.

So far, India has recorded 9,826,775 confirmed COVID- 19 cases, including 142,628 deaths. A total of 9,324,328 patients have recovered, as per the latest data from the Union Health Ministry. However, there are 359,819 active cases in the country, which comprise 3.66 percent of the total caseload. India's recovery rate continues to rise and now stands at 94.74 percent. The country conducted 1,065,176 tests during the previous 24-hour cycle.

Globally, more than 7.10 crore people have been infected by the novel coronavirus and 15.94 lakh have died so far.

Follow our full COVID-19 coverage here
Moneycontrol News
first published: Dec 12, 2020 01:08 pm

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