With India seeking around 300-400 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine by July 2021, SII is "gearing up" to increase its output, and to still have "a few hundred million" doses left to offer to the COVAX mechanism led by Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, Poonawalla said. Poonawalla, during an interview at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, said the government will get the vaccine at a lower price, probably around $3-4 (Rs 220).
Poonawalla said the vaccine would cost Rs 500 to Rs 600 for the public. Bharat Biotech's Covaxin can be considered for emergency approval after it submits data from phase I and II trials.
Dr. Jadhav said the world required 16 billion doses of vaccine with each of the 7.2 billion people on the planet requiring two doses each, besides the 1.5 to 2 billion that were likely to go waste. If it says the vaccine is safe, SII will apply for the emergency use authorisation at the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for the vaccine in December.
"We are basing the assumption of an emergency licensure based on positive United Kingdom results...if we have a good United Kingdom result coming in end of November-early December, we apply for an emergency licensure use". So these are the caveats.
SII official says almost 100 million Covishield vials will be in stock by January 2021. "So, you have the vaccine for - again - the vulnerable populations by Jan-Feb and then March-April for the general public", he further added. However, he said this would be possible only if everything goes as planned and the timelines are not delayed due to unprecedented incidents.
ICMR and SII have further collaborated for clinical development of another COVID-19 vaccine Covovax, which has been developed by Novavax, USA, and upscaled by SII.
The company is now expanding its capacity for manufacturing the vaccine to around 100 million doses from around 50-60 million doses now.
The company is in talks with Nepal and certain African countries, but has not signed a bilateral pact for vaccine supply with any other country other than Bangladesh. According to Poonawalla, India's billion-plus population will be Serum's primary concern.
Covishield has been developed at the SII Pune laboratory with a master seed from Oxford University/Astra Zeneca. It is anticipated that Covishield will be one of the first to secure regulatory approval, along with vaccine candidates from US-based Pfizer and Moderna Inc, as scientists across the world try to find a vaccine against novel coronavirus.