Health Desk – 07 Apr, 2021: Chief executive officer of Serum Institute of India (SII) has said the company needs Rs 3,000 crore to scale up its production capacity of Covid-19 vaccine “Covishield”.
SII will be able to resume and speed up vaccine export if the ongoing second wave of the virus in India is checked by June-July, reports our New Delhi correspondent quoting CEO Adar Poonawalla as saying.
SII’s present manufacturing capacity is “very strained” and has stressed the company’s commercial supply commitment to other countries where Covishield is to be exported, Poonawalla said last night.
He said SII, which produces 60-65 million doses of Covishield every month, so far gave around 100 million doses to the Indian government and exported 60 million but is “still short of being able to supply to every Indian” who needs the vaccine.
He said the SII needed Rs 3,000 crore in order to ramp up capacity needed to scale up production by June/July.
Poonawalla also said ramping up vaccine production would take nearly three months.
The SII CEO said continued spike in cases across India could further delay Covishield exports because the company has to first cater to India’s domestic requirement.
India witnessed a nearly doubling of the number of daily cases of Covid-19 since March 25.
The demand for vaccines in India went up substantially since the government widened Covid-19 inoculation drive last month to include all people above the age of 45.
Poonawalla said SII was working towards manufacturing Russia’s vaccine Sputnik-V which has sought permission for use in India.
He said Codagenix, a single-dose nasal vaccine, would enter the trial phase soon and it could be a “potential game-changer.”
Nasal vaccine is considered by experts easier to administer and helps cut virus transmission.