Human trials of Covishield to begin by August-end, price likely to be below Rs 1,000 per dose

After the first human trial data of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and drugmaker AstraZeneca was published by Lancet, world’s largest vaccine manufacturer Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla said that 50 percent of the vaccines manufactured by his company would be supplied within India and the rest to other countries. Poonawalla said the vaccine would most likely be procured by the government and people would get it for free through vaccination programs.

According to media reports, Poonawala has said that 50 percent of the vaccine doses that will be manufactured by his firm will be supplied to India, and the rest will be given to other countries. Poonawalla also said that the vaccines are mostly bought and paid for by the governments as a part of immunization programmes.

“We have said that we want to give half of our (vaccine) production to India and the other half to other countries on a pro-rata basis every month. The government has been supportive. We need to understand that this is a global crisis and people across the world need to be protected. It’s important that we equally immunise the entire world,” Poonawalla told the media.

Previously, Adar Poonawalla had said that the firm is seeking approval from the DCGI to conduct phase 3 trials of the vaccine in India. The production of the doses will also begin shortly.

Meanwhile there are other media reports that the vaccine which will be called Covishield in India will cost less than Rs 1,000 per dose, and if everything goes well, SII should be able to launch the vaccine by November, this year. As for the trials, more than 5,000 people have enrolled themselves for clinical trials of the Oxford vaccine to be conducted in India by SII, and trials are estimated to begin by the end of August.