COVID-19 vaccine by Oct-Nov: Poonawalla to Patnaik

Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, is hopeful of developing a COVID-19 vaccine by October/November this year, its CEO Adar Poonawala said on Wednesday.
It has partnered with biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to manufacture the experimental COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by the University of Oxford.
It has also got the DCGI’s go-ahead to manufacture its own indigenously developed pneumococcal vaccine.
Poonawalla, during an interaction with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik through a video conference, expressed optimism that the COVID-19 vaccine could be ready by October-November this year and the next phase of the trial can start in mid-August in India.
According to a press note released by the Chief Minister’s Office here, Poonawalla has informed that the Oxford University vaccine has shown promising results in the first phase trial.
“In India, the next phase trial will start in mid-August and the vaccine will be ready by October-November this year,” he was seen saying in a video clip released by the CMO.
Poonawala further said that the Serum Institute of India (SII) and the state government can be in touch with each other and carry forward the collaboration once the vaccines are cleared and ready.
Patnaik expressed happiness that the SII has partnered with Oxford University to develop the COVID vaccine. He also congratulated Poonawala for the recent promising results published in Lancet on the COVID vaccine.
The chief minister sought his cooperation to keep Odisha as a priority for vaccination once necessary clearances are obtained. “The state government will be in touch with Serum Institute for this purpose,” Patnaik said.
Patnaik also applauded the philanthropic activities carried out by Poonawalla and the foresight in trying up with various research institutions across the globe to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the screening process for human clinical trials of India’s indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine has already commenced at a Bhubaneswar-based institute – one of the 12 centres selected by the ICMR for conducting phase one and two of the process, a senior official said.
Human trials of BBV152 COVID Vaccine or Covaxin are being conducted in a special laboratory set up at the Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM (IMS & SUM) Hospital, the official at the facility here said.
“The screening process for the selection of volunteers for the vaccine trial is going on in full swing. Response from prospective volunteers is highly encouraging,” Dr. E Venkat Rao, the principal investigator of the trial process and professor of community medicine at the hospital, told PTI here.
The health profiles of the prospective volunteers who have registered are being examined thoroughly and their samples are being sent to the designated laboratory in New Delhi, he said, adding that after getting the reports, the selected volunteers will be administered the vaccine as per prescribed guidelines.