Indian firm to manufacture COVID-19 vaccine by Oxford University

According to Serum Institute of India, if clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccine are successful then the medicine should be out in the market by October this year

Indian pharmaceutical giant Serum Institute of India (SII) plans to start manufacturing the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford in the coming two to three weeks.

According to SII, if the clinical trials of the vaccine are successful then the medicine should be out on the market by October 2020. However, this can only happen after the human clinical trials take place in the UK.

Pune-based SII is one the of seven global institutions who have partnered with University of Oxford to manufacture the vaccine for the masses.

"Our team has been working closely with Dr Hill from Oxford University, and we are expecting to initiate production of the vaccine in 2-3 weeks and produce 5 million doses per month for the first six months, following which we hope to scale up production to 10 million doses per month," SII CEO Adar Poonawalla was quoted as saying by media reports.

"We expect the (COVID-19) vaccine to be out in the market by September-October, only if the trials are successful with the requisite safety and assured efficacy. We will be starting trials in India for this vaccine hopefully over the next 2-3 weeks' time, Following that, we have undertaken the decision to initiate manufacturing at our own risk. The decision has been solely taken to have a jump-start on manufacturing, to have enough doses available, if the clinical trials prove successful," Poonawalla added.

SII has plans on the table to initiate human trials in India for the vaccine developed by University of Oxford.

"Keeping the current situation in mind, we have funded this endeavour at a personal capacity and hopefully will be able to enlist the support of other partners to further scale-up vaccine production," Poonawalla said.

The COVID-19 vaccine designed by University of Oxford will be manufactured at the SII’s existing facility in Pune as building a new facility for manufacturing the vaccine would have taken at least 2-3 years, as per Poonawalla.