SII’s Adar Poonawalla Says India’s COVID Vaccine Drive Likely To Start In January 2021

The SII CEO said that an emergency approval is awaited from the DGCI for the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine, post which India can start its COVID immunisation program by January 2021 and hope to come back to normalcy by October next year

Raghav N

December 15, 2020

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In a positive development, Serum Institute Of India (SII) chief Adar Poonawalla said in a summit in the weekend that India is likely to start its vaccination drive against Coronavirus by January 2021.This is for the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine candidate. He further said that he expects everyone to get vaccinated by October 2021, after which the health crisis should be under control and people can return to normalcy.

The company has already approach the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) for an emergency authorisation for the immunisation. The report files of the 16,000 volunteers who participated in the vaccine development have also been submitted to the authorities.

During his address, Poonawalla said that he hopes to receive the approval by the end of this month, though the actual license for a wider circulation will take more time to come in. However, subject to a fast-tracked consent from the regulatory body, the inoculation program can be initiated by January.

SII is known to be the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, producing close to 1.5 billion doses annually. It has reportedly manufactured 40 million doses of the Covishield vaccine, developed by the University of Oxford and the international biopharma company AstraZeneca.

India’s other vaccine candidate Covaxin is being developed by Bharat Biotech, in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV). It is currently conducting its crucial phase three trials across 25 plus centres in india. The developer has already applied to the DGCI last week for an emergency approval.

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