Covid-19 Vaccine Ready for Rollout by Dec, Says Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla; But Adds 2 Conditions

Sneha Mordani
·1-min read

Covishield, a vaccine candidate that has shown promise during trials, may be ready by December 2020, Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla told News18. He, however, added the caveat that "a lot is subject to data from the UK and also a lot depends on the approvals coming through from the Drugs Controller General Of India".

What this means is that the company, which is developing Oxford University's vaccine in India, intends to apply for emergency authorization if the data from the UK trials show promise.

The government of India, has in the past indicated that emergency authorization of a vaccine is likely if the need arises. The phase-III trials of Oxford University-AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine candidate are currently underway in the UK.

Covishield, developed at the Jenner Institute of the Oxford University in the UK and licensed from Anglo Swedish drug maker AstraZeneca, is currently undergoing the final phase of clinical trials in India among nearly 1,600 people. Serum has floated a new company Serum Institute Life Sciences (SILS) that will exclusively focus on developing, producing and supplying pandemic vaccines.

On Tuesday, Poonawalla termed as "preliminary good news" an announcement by British drugmaker AstraZeneca that an experimental Covid-19 vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford is producing an immune response in both younger and older adults.

"A lot of people were wondering and asking the question, will these early vaccines be effective for the elderly and most vulnerable, here is some preliminary good news," Poonwalla said on Twitter.