Serum Institute of India (SII) is readying one billion doses of five different vaccines against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) across the world before the end of 2021-22, a report has said. Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive of the world’s largest vaccine maker by volume, said his company plans to launch at least one vaccine every quarter likely by the beginning of next year.

These will include Covishield, Covovax, COVIVAXX, COVI-VAC, and SII COVAX. Covishield, which is being developed by the United Kingdom’s Oxford University, and licensed from British-Swedish drug-maker AstraZeneca, is currently undergoing Phase 3 of clinical trials in India among nearly 1,600 people. Serum Institute of India has partnered with AstraZeneca to manufacture the vaccine candidate, which is expected to be launched in the first quarter of next year and immunisation can start by January if the clearances are given early.

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“The plan is to launch at least one vaccine every quarter beginning with Covishield, which we licensed from AstraZeneca, likely by start of 2021… We are already making 20-30 million doses and can increase the production to 70-80 million a month. Currently, we are consciously producing less considering the shelf life of the vaccine,” Adar Poonawalla told BusinessToday.in on Thursday.

It reported that the second anti-coronavirus disease vaccine from Serum Institute Life Sciences (SILS), a new company floated by SII, is likely to be Covovax, which is a spike protein vaccine being developed in association with biotech firm Novovax.

Novovax has an arrangement with SII to produce one billion doses of the vaccine in 2021. The BusinessToday.in report said that the Phase 1 clinical trial of Covovax began in May 2020 in Australia and it is currently into the second phase of development. A phase-3 clinical trial with up to 30,000 subjects is expected to begin by end of 2020, it added.

Also read | No adverse effect of Oxford University vaccine on 163 Mumbai volunteers during clinical trials, says BMC

Adar Poonawala said the new manufacturing facility SILS is coming up near the SII facility in Pune and will take two years for completion. Poonawalla also said, according to BusinessToday.in, that SILS will outsource the capacity of SII until then.

Poonawalla added that the privately-held company has already invested 70% of the Rs 3,000 crore capex required in land, buildings, plants, raw materials, and other related infrastructure. SII will postpone its earlier expansion plans to develop a few new vaccines for the US and European markets. “Once completed, between SII and SILS, we will have a capacity to manufacture over 2.3 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines, provided there is demand and requirement,” the report quoted Poonawalla as saying.

India’s infection tally went up to 7.76 million with 54,366 new cases of the coronavirus disease and 690 related deaths, according to the Union health ministry.



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