Health

Looking forward to the COVID-19 vaccine: SII CEO

Serum Institute of India’s CEO Adar Poonawalla  

Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer, Serum Institute of India (SII), whose company is to manufacture the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine developed by Oxford University’s Jenner Institute and AstraZeneca in India, is now at the university.

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“Proud and excited for the next few months and looking forward to the vaccine,” he tweeted on Monday.

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The Pune-based SII is to produce one billion doses of the vaccine.

The vaccine candidate, which is among the front-runners in the fight against COVID-19, is now undergoing Phase 3 clinical trials in Britain, Brazil, South Africa and India.

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‘Trials on at 17 sites’

“In India, trials are on at 17 sites with 1,600 participants and the safety and efficacy of the vaccine is being looked into. Called ‘Covishield’ in India, it [the Oxford-Astrazeneca produced vaccine candidate] is one of the three vaccine candidates undergoing trials in the country, apart from Bharat Biotech’s ‘Covaxin’, and Zydus Cadila’s ‘ZCOV-D’,” said a senior Health Ministry official.

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Meanwhile, other leading vaccine candidates by Pfizer and Moderna are also said to be in late-stage trials. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 175 vaccine candidates are in pre-clinical or clinical trials at present, eight of them in final stage Phase 3 of human trials.

Mr. Poonawalla previously tweeted a clarification on reports about commercialising the vaccine in 73 days.

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“SII would like to clarify that the current claims surrounding COVISHIELD’s availability in the media are completely false and conjectural. Presently, the government has granted us permission to only manufacture the vaccine and stockpile it for future use. COVISHIELD will be commercialised once the trials are proven successful and all the requisite regulatory approvals are in place. The phase-3 trials for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine are still under way. And only once the vaccine is proven immunogenic and efficacious, SII will confirm its availability, officially,” he tweeted.


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Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 5:54:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/looking-forward-to-the-vaccine-sii-ceo/article32546598.ece

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