India Coronavirus Can Its Vaccine Makers Meet Demand

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India Coronavirus Can Its Vaccine Makers Meet Demand

India produces 60% of the world’s vaccines, but it’s also one of the countries with the largest number of coronavirus cases globally, second only to the US.

It must not only provide for its own vaccine needs, but also meet its commitments to producing a share of the global supply.

So can it meet that demand?

How much vaccine can India produce?

At the moment, there are two vaccines approved in India – Covishield (the local name for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine developed in the UK), and one called Covaxin.

There are others undergoing trials, which are also being produced in India.

Indian pharmaceutical companies were reported in recent months to be ramping up production by adding new facilities or converting existing production lines.

The biggest producer, the Serum Institute of India (SII), says it can already turn out between 60 and 70 million vaccine doses a month.

The Bharat Biotech company says it is aiming to produce 200 million vaccine doses a year, although currently, they have only 20 million doses of Covaxin available.

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Main Indian vaccine makers

  • SIITwo vaccines (one approved)
  • Bharat BiotechTwo vaccines (one approved)
  • Biological ETwo vaccines (in trial phase)
  • Zydus CadilaOne vaccine (in trial phase)
  • Gennova BiopharmaOne vaccine (in trial phase)
  • Dr Reddy’s LabOne vaccine (in trial phase)

Source: Media reports

The other companies producing vaccines undergoing trials are in talks with the authorities in India, and other nations, about supplying these vaccines when they are ready.

As yet, there are few details about the amounts involved.

What are India’s own vaccine requirements?

The Indian government has said it will vaccinate 300 million people who are on the priority list by the end of July as part of its initial plan to tackle the virus.

The vaccination programme is due to start on 16 January, with healthcare and frontline workers the first to receive the jabs.

It aims to administer 600 million doses overall within some seven months – around 85 million doses a month.

As of now, the biggest manufacturer, SII, says it has 50 million doses quality-tested and ready to be rolled out.

The company told us that the details of what proportion would be exported, or kept for domestic use, were still being worked out.

What about India’s role globally?

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India’s SII is also part of a big WHO-backed international scheme called Covax, which is to help low and middle-income countries secure access to vaccines this year as the global race to acquire them gathers pace.

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Last September, the SII agreed to supply 200 million doses to that scheme this year – either the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine or a US-developed one called Novavax.

India Coronavirus Can Its Vaccine Makers Meet Demand

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