New Delhi: Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla on Saturday took to Twitter to spell out the next challenge India needs to tackle in its fight against Coronavirus. He wondered if the Centre will have Rs 80,000 crores over the next one year for the purchase and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to everyone in India. Also Read - Road to Recovery: For 3rd Day, India's Fresh COVID-19 Infections Remain Below 60K Mark; 54,044 Cases, 717 Deaths in 24 Hours
“Quick question; will the government of India have 80,000 crores available, over the next one year? Because that’s what @MoHFW_INDIA needs, to buy and distribute the vaccine to everyone in India. This is the next concerning challenge we need to tackle,” Poonawalla said in a tweet. He also tagged aloong the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in the same tweet. Also Read - Coronavirus Vaccine Latest News: Who Will Get First Shots? Govt Prepares Database For COVID-19 Immunisation
In a subsequent tweet, he added, “I ask this question, because we need to plan and guide, vaccine manufacturers both in India and overseas to service the needs of our country in terms of procurement and distribution.” Also Read - Why PM Modi’s Covid Warning Should Be Taken Seriously During Upcoming Festivals
Notably, India is the manufacturing partner of the vaccine candidate named Covishield, developed jointly by the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute’s and AstraZeneca. The Pune-based firm, SII, is looking after the trials at 17 trial sites across India.
On September 16, the institute had received approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to resume the clinical trial of the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine candidate after it was brought to a halt due over safety concerns.
Besides this, trials of two indigenous vaccines by Zydus Cadila and Bharat Biotech are also underway.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Limited, a global pharmaceutical company headquartered out of India, have also agreed to cooperate on clinical trials and distribution of Sputnik V vaccine in India. Sputnik V, an adenovirus vector-based vaccine, was developed by the Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, along with the Russian Direct Investment Fund and registered on August 11.