Amid huge concerns about vaccine shortage, here is some good news.
Indian pharma major Wockhardt has jumped to the fray and is set to announce a major production deal for an undisclosed vaccine, NDTV has reported. The company is planning to manufacture 500 million doses a year. An announcement will be made shortly and the production of the vaccine will begin in a few months.
Dr Habil Khorakiwala, the Chairman of Wockhardt, told NDTV, “Our arrangement is as contract manufacturer with the principal innovator.Wwe will be supplying it to them and they will introduce it to India.”
On the pricing, Khorakiwala said, ‘’We have only a price agreement between us and them but what price they will put depends on them.”
The government is scrambling to procure vaccines and speed up its inoculation drive after a devastating second wave of infections killed lakhs of people around the country. The Modi dispensation has also come under increasing criticism – including from the Supreme Court – for its bungled vaccine rollout. The country has so far vaccinated over 3 per cent of the population and needs around 2.5 billion vaccine doses.
On June 3, the Centre booked 30 crore doses of a new Covid vaccine from Hyderabad-based Biological-E, which is still in Phase 3 clinical trial. The shot being developed by Biological-E is an RBD protein sub-unit vaccine and is likely to be available in the next few months. The doses will be manufactured and stockpiled by Biological-E from August to December 2021.
To speed up the inoculation process, the Centre is also in talks with Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson to import COVID vaccines.
If all goes as per the plan, Pfizer vaccines will reach India in July itself, Times of India reported, quoting official sources.
Pfizer also said that it continues to remain engaged with the Indian government towards making its coronavirus vaccine available for use in the government immunisation programme.
The company’s statement came after Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) exempted specific trials of COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved by some other international regulatory bodies.
Currently, the three vaccines available are Serum Institute’s Covishield, indigenously developed Covaxin from Bharat Biotech and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.