Serum Institute of India to develop Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine

The Serum Institute of India has partnered with Oxford University and is one of the seven global institutions manufacturing the vaccine.

Apr 28, 2020 07:07 IST
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Serum Institute of India on April 26 announced its plan for the production of the COVID-19 vaccine that was developed by Oxford University.  The production of the vaccine will start in the next two to three weeks.

The vaccine developed by the institute will be in the market by October after the successful human trials. The company in Pune has partnered with Oxford University and is one of the seven global institutions manufacturing the vaccine.

In the past, the Serum Institute had also collaborated with the scientists at Oxford University for the malaria vaccine project.

Key Highlights:

For vaccine developed by Oxford, a genetically engineered chimpanzee virus would form the basis of the new vaccine.

As per SII CEO, Adar Poonawalla the team at the institute has been working with Dr. Hill from Oxford University.

The production of the vaccine will be initiated in 2-3 weeks.

There is a target of production of 5 million for the first six months. Later on, the production can be scaled up to 10 million doses per month.

The vaccine for COVID-19 will be out in the market by September-October but only after the successful trials. The trials for the vaccine in India have been expected to start in the next 2-3 weeks- time.

The manufacturing of a vaccine by SII will be in anticipation of clinical trials succeeding by September-October in the UK.

As per Prof. Adrian Hill of Oxford, it is clear that the world is going to need hundreds of millions of doses and this is where Indian vaccine makers have a head start. He further stated that the Serum Institute alone has an extra capacity of 400 to 500 million doses.

Manufacture of COVId-19 vaccine by Serum Institute:

The vaccine will be manufactured in an established company’s facility in Pune as the development of new facility for vaccine would have taken the next 2-3 years.

The institute has decided to manufacture the medicine at their own risk and the manufacturing has been initiated so that there are enough doses available if the clinical trials are successful.

The production of the vaccine has been funded at the personal capacity. The further plan will be to enlist the support of other partners to scale up the production.

The Indian regulatory authorities such as the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) are working with the institute so as to ensure smooth functioning.

No Patent for COVID-19 vaccine:

The Serum Institute of India had earlier announced that it will not patent the COVID-19 vaccine and will make it available for all the production and sale in India as well as across the world.

CEO Adar Poonawalla mentioned that the development of the vaccine will need multiple partners and he hopes that whichever company will develop the vaccine will not get it patented. It must be made available on royalties and commercial understanding to manufacturers all over the world to pace up the production of the vaccine.

Serum Institute collaborated with Codagenix:

Vaccine maker Serum Institute has also collaborated with Codagenix, an American biotech company for the development of a ‘live attenuated’ vaccine. It is created by reducing the virulence or removing the harmful properties of a pathogen but keeping it alive.

Adar Poonawalla commenting on the collaboration stated that animal trials of this vaccine will be in April and human trials will begun by September.

About Serum Institute of India:

Serum Institute of India is the world’s largest vaccine maker by a number of doses produced and sold globally. The company is 53 years old and makes 1.5 billion doses every year. The production is mainly from its two facilities established in Pune.

The company also has two other small plants in the Czech Republic and the Netherlands. Around 7000 people work in the Institute.

Other COVID-19 Vaccine development projects of Indian firms:

Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad had announced a partnership with the University of Wisconsin Madison and US-based firm FluGen for the manufacture of almost 300 million doses of vaccine for global distribution.

Zydus Cadilla has been working on the development of two vaccines for COVID-19.

Indian Immunologicals, Biological E and Mynvax have been developing a vaccine each.

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