Home / Science / Health /  Oxford COVID-19 vaccine to be available for general public in next 3,4 months, says Adar Poonawalla

A 'safe and effective' coronavirus vaccine will be available for general public in the country by next May or June, said Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer of Serum Institute of India at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2020. Pune-based drug maker signed a deal with British-Swedish company AstraZeneca to manufacture COVID-19 vaccine candidate, developed by the University of Oxford. The final stage of the clinical trial of Oxford's COVID-19 vaccine has already started in the country.

The drugmaker may apply for the emergency authorisation of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine in India. Then COVID-19 vaccine will be available by December for essential workers, said Poonawalla. However, the decision will depend on the trial result, said the CEO, Serum Institute of India.

Dubbed as AZD1222 or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, the vaccine is arecombinant viral vector vaccine. It uses a weakened version of a chimpanzee common coldvirus that encodes instructions for making proteins from the novel coronavirus to generate an immune response and prevent infection. The vaccine is likely to provide protection for about a year, AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said in June. According to a report published in the British medical journal, The Lancet, the COVID-19 vaccine produced strong immune response in older adults.

‘We were pleased to see that our vaccine was not only well tolerated in older adults; it also stimulated similar immune responses to those seen in younger volunteers. The next step will be to see if this translates into protection from the disease itself,’ Maheshi Ramasamy, Investigator at the Oxford Vaccine Group and Consultant Physician said.

The vaccine also produced a dual immune response in people aged 18 to 55, the earlier report said.

Serum Institute of India is planning to produce 100 million dosages of vaccines by February 2021. The vaccine to cost 500- 600 for citizens in India.

Serum Institute of India will make up to 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for poorer countries, including India, next year, as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and GAVI vaccines alliance have doubled their funding, the company said. The collaboration takes forward an initial agreement signed in August by Serum, GAVI and the Gates Foundation for 100 million doses to be priced at a maximum of $3 each.

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