New Delhi: The Drug Controller General of India (DGCA) on Wednesday approved the manufacture of COVID-19 subunit vaccine – Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Conjugate Vaccine – developed by the Serum Institue of India, Pune, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of vaccines. Also Read - 196 Doctors Lose Battle to COVID: IMA Writes to PM Modi Seeking Adequate Care For Medicos & Their Families

With this, Serum Institute became the first research institute in India to manufacture a domestically developed, fully indigenously developed pneumococcal vaccine. Also Read - Grim Milestone: Maharashtra's COVID Caseload Surpasses 5-lakh Mark With Highest Single-day Spike of 12822 Infections

The pneumococcal vaccine, that primarily helps to fight against pneumonia and other pneumococcal diseases, will be available at a much cheaper price than the existing vaccines like the one developed by Pfizer. Also Read - Sanjay Dutt Hospitalised in Mumbai Due to Breathlessness, Has Been Tested Negative For COVID-19

The Serum Institute’s pneumococcal vaccine was already pre-qualified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in December 2019, and was expected to be made available in the private market in India by June this year.

While it is not a COVID-19 vaccine, the pneumococcal vaccine can help in co-morbid ailments related to the deadly COVID-19 infection.

At the same time, the Pune-based SII on Tuesday reached out to DGCA asserting that continuing clinical trials for other vaccines has become extremely difficult amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Notably, the Serum Institute has also been working rigorously with the Oxford University to begin production for the COVID-19 vaccine. SII CEO Adar Poonawala had told reporters that out of total amount produced, 50 per cent will be reserved for India, while the remaining 50 per cent to the rest of the world.