The CEO of the Serum Institute of India, Adar Poonawalla, told NDTV on Monday, 23 November, that a minimum of 100 million doses of Covidshield, a coronavirus vaccine that is said to be 90 percent effective under some conditions will be available in India by January.
The Oxford University on Monday said that the interim analysis from its phase three vaccine trial shows that the 70 percent effectiveness comes from combining two doses. The participants were given two high doses, which showed 62 percent efficiency, but it rose to 90 percent when they were given a half dose, followed by a high one, reported BBC.
Poonawalla explained that a single dose could cost up to ₹1000 if purchased from the pharmacy, but the government will purchase 90 per cent of the supply at ₹250.
He added, "It will be another two-three months for the vaccine to be available in India. By January we will have 100 million doses, minimum. The target set by the government is 300 to 400 million doses by July. We are putting a MRP of ₹1,000 - for the private market it will be around ₹500 or 600 (+ ₹200 for the distributor) and ₹ 250 or less for the government."
Covidshield is also said to be 90 percent effective, when administered in two doses over a month-long period, pharma giant AstraZeneca reported. Calling it a “low-cost, logistically manageable” vaccine, Mr Poonawalla has also expressed that around 40 million doses have already been produced.
Earlier this year, it was said that frontline workers like doctors and nurses would be the first ones to get inoculated, NDTV reported.
When Will the Vaccine Be Available to the General Public?
Speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2020, Poonawalla said: “Never did I dream that we at the Serum Institute of India (SII) would have a good vaccine developed by this year-end with all regulatory approvals in place. If everything goes according to plan, January-February 2021 is our deadline for making the vaccine available to frontline workers and to the general public by March, April next year,” Hindustan Times reported.
Poonawalla said that it will take about four more years to get everyone vaccinated and protected from the virus.
Speaking on the emergency administration of the vaccine, Mr, Poonawalla said, “As soon as the UK authorities – the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) – and the European EMEA (European Medicines Agency) approve it for emergency use, we will apply to the Drug Controller (DCGI) in India and, hopefully, very soon, we can also get an emergency use authorisation.(sic.)”
On Tuesday, 24 November, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to chair a virtual meet with the chief ministers of the eight worst-hit states and is expected to deliberate over vaccine distribution.
(With inputs from NDTV, Reuters and Hindustan Times)