It’s going to take four to five years until everyone gets the vaccine on this planet, says Adar Poonawalla
It’s going to take four to five years until everyone gets the vaccine on this planet, says Adar Poonawalla|Representational image
CORONAVIRUS UPDATES

COVID-19 vaccines won't be available for everyone before 2024: Serum Institute CEO

Pharma companies will need to ramp up production capacity to meet requirements of world population, says Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla

Bitopan Deka

Guwahati: Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive of Serum Institute of India, has made a downhearted claim by saying that not enough COVID-19 vaccines will be available for everyone in the world before the end of 2024.

The supremo of the world's largest vaccine manufacturer said in an interview with The Financial Times that pharmaceutical companies are yet ramp up their production capacity to be able to immunise the world population in a lesser time.

He had earlier stated that if the coronavirus shot is a two-dose vaccine, like the vaccines for measles or rotavirus, then the world would need 15 billion doses. "It’s going to take four to five years until everyone gets the vaccine on this planet,” Poonawalla was quoted as saying.

The Pune based Serum Institute of India has partnered with five international drug manufacturing companies, including Astra-Zeneca and Novavax to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 and produce a billion doses of which 50% has been pledged to India. The company is likely to also collaborate with Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute to manufacture the Sputnik vaccine.

Speaking with The Financial Times, he informed that talks have been held with investors such as Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, Abu Dhabi investment holding company ADQ and US private equity firm TPG about raising $600 million so as to increase capacity to meet the 1 billion doses target.

Poonawalla has also cast aspersions on India's plan by pointing out the absence of a "sophisticated cold chain system", which would be a major roadblock in transporting 1.4 billion doses to the people. "I still don't see a proper plan to do that beyond 400 million doses. You don't want a situation with the vaccine where you have the capacity for your country but you can't consume it," he said.

Last week Serum Institute had to put a halt to the trials of the Oxford vaccine in India, after the Drugs Controller General of India had to issue a caution to the firm for not informing about Astra-Zeneca's global pause to their trials after side-effects were reported in a UK patient.

However, the late-stage trials were resumed by Astra-Zeneca over the weekend.

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