Serum Institute to apply for emergency use of COVID-19 vaccine in 2 weeks

The announcement came after Modi's visit to the firm 's Pune facility to review development process

The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), which is the final approval authority, gave its nod to AstraZeneca’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for emergency use two days back.

The Serum Institute of India is in the process of applying for an emergency use licensure for the AstraZeneca-Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate in India in the next two weeks, said the pharma major’s CEO Adar Poonawalla on Saturday, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the company’s Pune facility to review vaccine development process.

Addressing a virtual press conference on the visit of prime minister’s visit, Poonawalla said, “We discussed the plan, the implementation plan which will happen only after the emergency use licensure, that is granted based on the data that will have to be submitted. We are in the process of submitting that officially to the drug controller of India…”

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When asked if the company has applied for the emergency authorisation, Poonawalla said, “We are in the process of applying in next two weeks for an emergency use licensure.” The vaccine will be distributed initially in India and then the firm will look at Covax countries, which are mainly in Africa, he added.

The Serum Institute of India (SII) is conducting clinical trials of AstraZeneca-Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate in India.

Poonawalla also said it was a special day for the company with the prime minister visiting them to go into details on the manufacturing status not only its plants in Pune but on various partnerships and the impact the vaccine industry is going to have to India and the globe.

In a tweet, the prime minister said: “Had a good interaction with the team at Serum Institute of India. They shared details about their progress so far on how they plan to further ramp up vaccine manufacturing. Also took a look at their manufacturing facility.”

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Poonawalla said, “Worldwide everybody is now dependent and is looking forward to the vaccines coming out in large volumes and at affordable price from India as everybody already knows that more than 50 to 60 per cent of all vaccines are made in India.”

With the Aatmanirbhar Bharat vision in mind, the Serum Institute has built the largest pandemic level facility in Pune in its sister campus at Manjri and that was showcased also to the Prime Minister, he added.

Earlier in the day, Modi visited Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad, and Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad to review the development and manufacturing process of COVID-19 vaccines.

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