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Serum Institute of India plans to manufacture 2-3mn doses of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine by end of August

Serum Institute of India

The Serum Institute of India (SII) has started the manufacturing of the coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford. According to the report, the Pune-based vaccine manufacturer plans to develop two-three million doses of vaccine by the end of August. Earlier this week, the preliminary findings of the Phase 1/2 trial released in The Lancet Medical Journal indicate that Oxford COVID-19 vaccine ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 generated good immune responses with no early safety concerns.

The Oxford vaccine candidate for the SARS-CoV-2 virus is supported by the British biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which has signed an agreement with SII for 1 billion doses of the vaccine. Under the agreement, the Oxford vaccine will be extensively manufactured by SII in India and Gavi countries.

SII CEO Adar Poonawalla said that around 4,000-5,000 people in Pune and Mumbai will be injected with the vaccine by the end of August as part of phase 3 trials scheduled to last over two months in cities with many hotspots. The studies will assess the efficacy of the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine dubbed Covishield in India. Phase 3 trials have already begun in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil.

Poonawalla had also said that the company aims to manufacture 300-400 million doses of the vaccine by the year-end, following the success of initial and licensure trials. If all goes as planned, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 will cost less than Rs 1,000 per dose in India.

The report added that Serum Institute is also in talks with other developers and may take up additional manufacturing of coronavirus vaccines developed by other institutes, apart from the vaccine created by Oxford University.