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To fight against novel coronavirus, Serum Institute of India aimed to launch a new COVID-19 vaccine every quarter, chief executive officer Adar Poonawalla said on Thursday, news agency Reuters reported. Pune-based drugmaker joined hands with British-Swedish pharma giant AstraZeneca to manufacture one hundred crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford. Indian drug regulator earlier granted emergency authorisation for Covishield, the local version of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, by Serum Institute of India.

The vaccine maker hoped to supply 100 crore doses by the end of this year, said Serum Institute of India CEO in Reuters Next conference. In an interview with The Associated Press, Poonawalla earlier revealed that the pharma major is increasing its production capacity by the end of 2021 to over 250 crore doses a year to cope with future disease outbreaks. Poonawalla's company now has an annual capacity of 150 crore doses.

The central government ordered 1.1 crore doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from Serum Institute of India for COVID-19 vaccination drive. The cost of the vaccine to the government would be 200 per vaccine dose for first 10 crore doses, the drugmaker noted.

"We are scaling up at the moment in India, will supply to other countries by end-January," Poonawalla told, according to Reuters.

"Without indemnity for vaccine makers, supplies could be at risk," he added.

The world’s largest vaccine maker by volume, also partnered with Novavax Inc to manufacture its potential COVID-19 vaccine for India and other countries. Under an agreement with US drug developer, Serum Institute will develop two hundred crore doses of Novavax's vaccine candidate annually. The drugmaker will also manufacture the antigen component of the vaccine.

Pune-based drugmaker also partnered with US based Codagenix to manufacture and supply its coronavirus vaccine. "We are also researching on two more candidates for the coronavirus vaccine," Poonawalla earlier told Mint.

Serum Institute had earlier entered into a partnership with international vaccine alliance GAVI and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate manufacturing and delivery of up to 20 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

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