The Serum Institute chief's statement comes after PM Modi on Saturday visited the firm's pandemic level facility in Pune to personally review the development of Covid-19 vaccine and the manufacturing process
After a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Serum Institute of India (SII) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Adar Poonawalla has said that indications suggest that the Indian Government may purchase 300 to 400 million 'Covidshield' doses by July next year.
Poonawalla's statement comes after PM Modi on Saturday visited the company's pandemic level facility in Pune to personally review the development of Covid-19 vaccine and the manufacturing process.
Addressing a press conference, Poonawalla said, "As of now we don't have anything in writing of how many doses the Government of India would purchase, but the indication is three to four hundred million doses by July 2021."
'Applying for emergency use of Covid vaccine in 2 weeks'
The Serum Institute chief also said that the SII will apply for emergency authorisation of the coronavirus vaccine within two weeks. "We are in the process of applying in the next two weeks for the emergency use," Poonawalla added.
Serum Institute of India has partnered with global pharma giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University for the vaccine candidate 'Covidshield'.
On the progress of the Covid vaccine, Poonawalla said, "We are in the process of submitting the data of our vaccine to the Drug Control of India. After it is reviewed it will be the decision if the Health Ministry to roll out doses in the first and second quarters."
The SII CEO's comments come as a boost to AstraZeneca after some scientists raised doubts about the robustness of results showing the shot was 90% effective in a sub-group of trial participants who, by error initially, received a half dose followed by a full dose.
Responding to a question on the distribution of the vaccine, Poonawalla stressed that the SII's priority is India and other COVAX countries.
"Vaccine will be distributed initially in India, and then we will look at the COVAX countries which are mainly in Africa. The UK and European markets are being taken care of by AstraZeneca and Oxford. Our priority is India and COVAX countries," he said.
"We are manufacturing 50-60 million doses per month. After January it will be 100 million doses," the SII chief added.
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