Coronavirus: How India is playing a major role in a Covid-19 vaccine?
Both countries have run a joint vaccine program recognized internationally for three decades now. Mr. Pompeo’s remarks do not surprise entirely.
The countries have worked together on stopping dengue, influenza, enteric diseases and also tried to keep TB in check. India is one of the largest generic vaccines and drug manufacturers in the entire world. India is home to major at least half a dozen vaccine makers and is also a host of some small ones. These companies make doses against meningitis, polio, rotavirus, pneumonia, measles, BCG, rubella, and mumps.
Now, in India, half a dozen firms are trying to develop a vaccine against Coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 disease.
One of the largest Vaccine producers is Serum Institue of India is also a part of this; it produces and sells the largest number of doses produced globally. The company is 53 years old and makes 1.5 billion doses per day in its two main facilities in Pune. Seven thousand people are working for the firm currently.
The company supplies around 20 vaccines in 165 countries. 80% of the vaccines manufactured by the company are exported at 50 cents a dose on average, some of the lowest in the world.
The firm has signed a collaboration with an American Biotech company, Codagenix, to develop a vaccine “live attenuated.”
The vaccine is made by reducing the harmful properties of the virus but keeping it alive.
“We are planning a set of animal trials [on mice and primates] of this vaccine in April. By September, we should be able to begin human trials,” said CEO of Serum Institute of India, Adar Poonawalla
The firm has also partnered to mass develop vaccines developed by Oxford. The human clinical trial of the vaccine began on Thursday in Oxford. If the trial is successful, there will be at least a million vaccine doses by September.
“It’s pretty clear the world is going to need hundreds of millions of doses, ideally by the end of this year, to end this pandemic, to lead us out of lockdown,” said Prof. Adrian Hill.
Mr.Poonawalla firm alone can make 400-500 million doses; this is where the Indian vaccine firm head starts.
“The credit must go to entrepreneurs and pharmaceutical companies who invested in quality manufacturing and in processes that made it possible to produce in bulk. The owners of these companies have also had the goal of doing good for the world while also running a successful business, and this model is a win-win for all,” said Soumya Swaminathan, WHO’s chief scientist.
According to experts, people should not expect the making of vaccine anytime soon.