Oxford coronavirus vaccine, whose results of Phase I, II trials have appeared safe, will be called ‘Covishield’ in India, says Adar Poonawalla, CEO, Serum Institute of India, a Pune based manufacturing partner of AstraZeneca that will be producing one billion doses of the Oxford’s coronavirus vaccine.
According to reports, Adar Poonawalla said they have written to the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) seeking approval for conducting Phase 3 trials of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine in India.
If results turned positive, Poonawalla said, “By November, we hope to launch the vaccine if the trials are positive and if the DCGI blesses it and says it is safe…”
Serum Institute of India on Tuesday said it will be starting trials of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca by the end of August on up to 5,000 Indian volunteers after getting the necessary nods.
It will take another three weeks to inject patients in hospitals, he was quoted as saying.
Serum Institute of India (SII), the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world, has been chosen by Oxford and its partner AstraZeneca to manufacture the vaccine once it gets ready.
Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla said that they want to keep its price below Rs 1000.
The vaccine under development will be injected into 4-5,000 volunteers in Pune and Mumbai – which have high rates of coronavirus infections – as part of the crucial phase three of the trial which will determine if the antidote can be introduced in the market or not.
Poonawalla said there is no dearth of volunteers and added that unlike the exclusion of older people in the initial phase of trials at Oxford, the Indian trials will include elderly people and health workers as well because the initial phase has conclusively proven the safety of the vaccine.
Poonawalla said it is extremely likely that the COVID-19 vaccine would require two or more doses, like in the case of antidotes for measles and other diseases.
As part of the special permission, the company will manufacture up to 70 million doses of the vaccine per month up to October, and plans to take it up to 100 million per month by December, so that it is ready to hit the market once the final approvals are in place.