Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to visit the Serum Institute of India (SII), one of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturers, in Pune on Saturday. Notably, SII has joined hands with AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford for the mass-production of their vaccine candidate.
The Union government has granted permission to seven firms for manufacture of vaccine for pre-clinical test, examination and analysis. SII and Gennova Biopharmaceuticals are among the seven firms.
Pune’s divisional commissioner Saurabh Rao said that a confirmation regarding PM Modi’s visit to SII on Saturday has been received, but a detailed itinerary of his programme is awaited. He had earlier said that PM Modi’s visit was aimed at reviewing the status of the vaccine candidate and the allied processes involved.
Ambassadors and envoys from 100 countries will also likely to visit SII and Gennova Biopharmaceuticals soon.
10 crore vaccine doses by January: Poonawalla
After AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford declared that their COVID-19 vaccine candidate has efficacy of up to 90 per cent with an average efficacy pegged at 70 per cent, Serum Institute of India (SII) chief Adar Poonawalla recently said that a minimum of 100 million doses of its vaccine ‘Covishield’ will be available by January for India.
Notably, Covishield has a cost advantage and is easier to store and transport as against other vaccine candidates developed by Pfizer and Moderna. It is also one of the major hopes for India which has recorded over 91 lakh cases of the virus and a death toll surpassing 1.31 lakh.
Poonawalla had said that 40 million doses of the vaccine have been already produced and the Centre will procure the stock at a rate of Rs 250 or less. The SII chief said the vaccine would be available in the private market at a price of Rs 500-Rs 600. The pricing for the private market has been kept in such a way that the distributors will make some money, he added.
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