COVID-19 Vaccine: Serum Institute To Apply For Emergency Authorisation In 2 Weeks

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Pune: Serum Institute of India (SII) has decided to apply for emergency authorisation of COVID-19 vaccine in the next two weeks, chief executive Adar Poonawalla said on Saturday.

The Pune-based company has partnered with global pharma giant AstraZeneca to produce the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University for low and middle income countries.

Named Covishield, the vaccine is in Phase III clinical trial in India.

Speaking to reporters through virtual press conference minutes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to SII’s facility in Pune on Saturday, Poonawalla said, the vaccine, post-authorization, will initially be distributed in India and then to African countries.

“We are in process of applying for emergency licensing in the next two weeks. We will have to wait and see when we get the authorisation,” Poonawalla said during a virtual press conference after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited SII.

“The vaccine will be distributed initially in India and then we will look at COVAX countries which are mainly in Africa. The United Kingdom and European markets are being taken care of by AstraZeneca and Oxford. If they need our help for scaling up production capacity, we are always there to support them.”

The Covishield vaccine, according to Poonawalla, has proved effective during trials. “What we found in Covishield during trials globally was that there was zero hospitalisation and 60 per cent reduction in sterilizing immunity.”

He further said that various issues like pricing and logistics, as well as pros and cons of other vaccine candidates were discussed during the PM’s visit.

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