News By/Courtesy: Varsha Subramaniam | 10 Nov 2020 14:21pm IST

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Indian pharmaceutical companies are front and centre in the race to supply the world with an effective product.
  • Indian drug companies are major manufacturers of vaccines distributed worldwide.
  • The world’s largest vaccine maker, the Serum Institute of India is in Pune.

As scientists edge closer to creating a vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, Indian pharmaceutical companies are front and center in the race to supply the world with an effective product. But researchers worry that, even with India’s experience as a vaccine manufacturer, its companies will struggle to produce enough doses sufficiently fast to bring its own huge outbreak under control. On top of that, it will be an immense logistical challenge to distribute the doses to people in rural and remote regions.

Indian drug companies are major manufacturers of vaccines distributed worldwide, particularly those for low-income countries, supplying more than 60% of vaccines supplied to the developing world. Because of this, they are likely to gain early access to any COVID-19 vaccine that works, says Sahil Deo, co-founder of India’s CPC Analytics in Pune, which is studying vaccine distribution in the country.

Several Indian vaccine makers already have agreements to manufacture coronavirus immunizations that are being developed by international drug companies or are working on their own vaccines. The government has said that these manufacturers can export some of their supplies as long as a proportion remains in the country.

Without India, there won’t be enough vaccines to save the world, said Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, during an online vaccine symposium organized by the Indian government in July.

The world’s largest vaccine maker, the Serum Institute of India in Pune, has an agreement to manufacture one billion doses of a coronavirus vaccine being developed by scientists at the University of Oxford, UK, and UK pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca if it is approved for use. The vaccine is currently undergoing phase III clinical trials in Brazil, the United Kingdom, and the United States to test its effectiveness.

If the vaccine works, the Serum Institute and the Indian government have committed to reserve half the company’s stock of it for India, and to supply half to low-income nations through GAVI, a funder of immunizations for low-income nations, says Adar Poonawalla, Serum’s chief executive.

Scientists have applauded the Indian government for allowing the country’s pharmaceutical companies to export some of their vaccine stocks to other nations. The decision to share supplies contrasts with the stance of nations such as the United States and the United Kingdom, which have each pre-ordered hundreds of millions of doses of coronavirus vaccines under development, enough to supply their respective populations many times over.

It’s unlikely that the Indian government will bear the entire cost of immunizing its people, Deo notes. It will probably pay for vaccinations for the poorest citizens, and ask everyone else to buy their own vaccines.

 

This Article Does Not Intend To Hurt The Sentiments Of Any Individual Community, Sect, Or Religion Etcetera. This Article Is Based Purely On The Authors Personal Views And Opinions In The Exercise Of The Fundamental Right Guaranteed Under Article 19(1)(A) And Other Related Laws Being Force In India, For The Time Being.  

Section Editor: Pushpit Singh | 10 Nov 2020 19:09pm IST


Tags : Science during COVID

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