Indians were rejoicing after various reports published that Serum Institute of India (SII) is all set to commercialise the first coronavirus vaccine in India, in a span of merely 73 days. Sources suggested that the first vaccine in India is likely to be the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine known as ‘Covishield’ which might be available in 73 days.
However, soon after the reports, the Serum Institute has issued an official clarification stating that the claims regarding the availability of vaccine in 73 days are misleading.
Claims Of Earlier Reports
Business Today reported that a top official from SII has exclusively revealed to them that the government has given SII “a special manufacturing priority license” and has fast-tracked the trial processes to facilitate the completion of trials in merely 58 days.
The vaccine is already in Phase III (final phase) trials. The official mentioned that the first dose under this phase of the trial will be given from today itself, and the second dose will be given after 29 days.
Within a period of 15 days from the date of the second dosage, the trial results would be out and the institute plans to commercialise the Covishield vaccine by then.
Serum Institute of India’s Clarification
Hours after these reports, the institute took to Facebook and issued an official clarification stating that the media’s claims regarding the availability of Covishield in 73 days are completely false and conjectural.
The Phase III trials of the vaccine are still underway and they will officially confirm the availability of the vaccine once it is proven immunogenic and efficacious.
The institute further mentioned that presently, the government has only granted approvals for the manufacturing and stockpiling of the vaccine. It will be commercialised only after the successful trials and regulatory approvals.
Reports suggest that the Serum Institute is starting to manufacture 6 crore doses per month and plans to take it to 10 crore doses per month, by April 2021.
Various sources have mentioned that the central government has already indicated that it will procure the vaccine doses directly from the institute and is planning to immunise Indians for free. Reportedly, the government has sought 68 crore doses for Indians from the Serum Institute of India by June 2021.
Other than Covishield, two other vaccines namely, Covaxin by Bharat Biotech and Zy-CoV-D by Zydus Caldia, are under trials in India. The government is likely to place orders for these two vaccines as well if their trials prove to be successful.
All we can do now is wait for the successful trials of the vaccine since there is no certainty as of now regarding the timeline of vaccines.
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