India is likely to get an approved COVID-19 vaccine by the first quarter of 2021, international brokerage firm Bernstein said in a report.
“We are optimistic that there will be an approved vaccine in the market by 1Q calendar year 2021 in India,” the report said.
While the vaccine could be available at USD 3-6 (Rs 225 to Rs 550) per dose, herd immunity might be two years away due to implementation challenges, it said, adding the experience in large scale adult vaccination programmes is thin.
Bernstein, in its report, said that it is hopeful that the first set of vaccines will be allocated to the vulnerable population healthcare workers, population above 65 years followed by essential sector workers and the economically weaker section of the population.
According to the firm, India’s vaccine market can be USD 6 billion over FY21-22.
“We estimate volumes to be split 55:45 between the government channel and private market and procurement prices to be USD 3 per dose for the government and end-consumer prices of USD 6 in the private market,” it added.
Bernstein also said that Novavax’svaccine candidate has shown higher levels of antibodies and viral neutralisation, about 5-6x HCS (Human Convalescent Sera) compared to AZ/Oxford’s vaccine, which came close to average HCS levels.
“But, both showed enough promise to progress to Phase III and trials are underway now, it added.
Stating that Serum Institute of India (SII) is best positioned to deliver the first vaccine, Bernstein said SII has partnered with both AZ/Oxford and Novavax to manufacture and commercialise their vaccines on approval.
SII has existing capabilities in both protein sub-unit (commercial) and viral vector (pipeline) technologies and their current capacities can be repurposed.
“We do not foresee manufacturing scale-up challenges. They are also investing in additional capacities of 1 billion doses and we estimate will be geared up to supply 600 million doses in 2021 and one billion doses in 2022 out of which 400-500 million should be available for India in 2021 keeping in mind their other commitments,” the firm said.