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Business News/ News / India/  Serum institute prepares to import Monkeypox vaccine in India amid global worry

With India having reported four Monkeypox cases so far, the Serum Institute of India (SII) has said that it is negotiating the import of a small of the vaccine with the Danish firm Bavarian Nordic, reported PTI.

Quoting SII CEO Adar Poonawalla, the news agency stated in case of a collaboration, it may take two to three months to get the vaccine into the country.

Danish drugmaker Bavarian Nordic A/S’s smallpox vaccine Imvanex has received approval in the European Union to be used against Monkeypox. Similar clearances have also been given to the vaccine in Canada and the US.

The company has also already signed several vaccine orders with countries that were using the product off-label.

In view of this, Poonawalla said: “I am ready to do that immediately (import vaccine as security to our nation. As soon as we can have some sort of commercial tie-up to import it and based on availability from Bavarian Nordic, we are hoping to do so."

“My team is talking to them right now. For larger volumes we take a call based on true demand and necessity," he added. 

Poonawala believes that while SII could import a few batches on its own initially, the government would have to eventually decide the course for importing large volumes of vaccines.

"There are a handful of cases and so there is no need for knee jerk reaction and order million of dosages and do all of that..we need to watch closely over the next few months...have collaborated very well with the government earlier and we need to have that close coordination even now," he said.

He noted that even if they started the manufacturing process now it would probably take a year before SII can come out with a market-ready product.

"To make it from scratch is difficult as it would take time and investment.. not sure if we will be able to do would have to be with someone else..," Poonawalla said.

"As a manufacturer, we really need to see if there is a demand or in 4-5 months it is going to fizzle out and treatments that are there are going to take care of the disease like this so we will have to wait and watch," he added.

‘Monkeypox not a pandemic’

Poonawalla has noted that his company can bring in bulk supplies of the vaccine which would be adequate for Monkeypox as it is not going to be a global pandemic.

"You don't need to vaccinate the entire certain regions where spread is there you would like to vaccinate over there..and we are talking about importing some vaccine doses as finished product just over the next few months as abundant precaution if the country needs it..," he said. 

He said Monkeypox has been there for decades and there is no need to panic.

"We need to be vigilant and we need to follow WHO guidelines that have been set out in these particular areas and particular communities to follow so that we can reduce the spread as much as possible," he stated.

Global situation 

WHO last week declared Monkeypox a global public health emergency of international concern.

Monkeypox virus is transmitted from infected animals to humans via indirect or direct contact. Human-to-human transmission can occur through direct contact with infectious skin or lesions, including face-to-face, skin-to-skin, and respiratory droplets.

Worldwide, there have been five deaths and over 16,000 cases of the monkeypox outbreak so far.

With inputs from agencies. 

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Updated: 27 Jul 2022, 01:07 PM IST
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