COVID-19 vaccine is 6 months away says SII CEO

COVID-19 vaccine is 6 months away says SII CEO

Written By: / Wednesday, 08 July 2020 17:48

IT News
Pune, July 8:

“Mylabs Discovery Solutions”(MDS) and Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) on Tuesday  launched an automated  test kit to detect Covid-19 and claimed that it minimises human interaction and reduces time and can conduct 32 tests per hour. 
Launching the test kit, an “Automated Molecular Covid Test Machine”(AMCTM), SII CEO Adar Poonawalla said increasing testing rate in India is the “need of the hour” and AMCTM eliminates the infrastructure and capital requirement needed to set up a molecular lab. 
At present there is a backlog of more than two to three days in testing swabs for Covid-19 in Mumbai and Pune and this machine can ease out that backlog, Poonawala said and added that the AMCTM, is also capable of carrying out tests for other ailments as well. The private labs would be paying Rs 1,000 for every test conducted using this machine and for public the price would be around Rs 2,500 per test. 
MDS Director Hasmukh Rawal, said at present there are two variants of AMCTM. The bigger machine costs Rs 40 lakh and the smaller one (having the capacity to test eight samples per hour) is relatively cheaper. 
SII, which produces 150 crore vaccine doses a year across the globe, is working on three vaccine candidates developed by the UK’s University of “Oxford”, US-based “Codagenix” and Austrian biotech firm “Themis”. When asked about a vaccines for Covid-19, Poonawala said that they are at least two years away, but a few may get ready by the end of the year. “We don’t want to take any step in a haste,” he said, adding that a vaccine is at least six months away from today. 
If the vaccine currently under trials by Oxford University in collaboration with British pharma giant “AstraZeneca” succeeds, it may become the first to come out by the end of the year. Some companies like US-based “Moderna” and “Oxford” are ahead in the development of a vaccine, Poonawalla said. SII plans to manufacture 50 lakh dosages in the first six months. After clinical trials prove successful, we will be able to produce 100 crore dosages per month and our effort will be to provide maximum dosages to India, he added. 
It is to be noted that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has already announced to introduce anti-COVID-19 vaccine (Co-vaccine) being manufactured by the Hyderabad based “Bharat Biotech International Limited “ by Independence day. Poonawalla’s statement assumes significance in this context.

About the Author

Raju Vernekar

Raju Vernekar

Raju Vernekar is a Media Professional based in Mumbai and is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. He had served as Chief Reporter at Free Press Journal (1996 – 2015 ). His Activities includes writing for different news papers, script writing/production for TV channels, Films Division. Writing poems in Marathi, Hindi, English, Guiding mass media students and helping people to solve their problems. Raju may be contacted at [email protected]

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