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Oxford’s covid-19 vaccine 95% effective, says SII CEO Adar Poonawalla

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New Delhi: Pune-based Serum Institute of India on Monday said that the company will likely get the nod for the emergency use of their Covid-19 vaccine – Covishield in “few days”, while emphasising that the company has a massive stockpile 40-50 million doses that will be enough to inoculate people in first phase of the vaccination drive. 

World’s largest vaccine maker by volume, SII has partnered with global pharma giant AstraZeneca and the Oxford University for making the vaccine and is conducting trials in India. The drug maker has sought for emergency use authorisation of their vaccine candidate from Drug Controller General of India(DCGI). However, the regulatory body is waiting for the UK’s approval to the vaccine before giving nod for Emergency Use Authorization to SII.

“We have 40-50 million doses of Covishield stockpiled. Once we get regulatory approvals in a few days, it will be down to the government to decide how much they can take and how fast. We will be producing around 300 million doses by July 2021,” Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla told a press conference.

He added, “India is a part of COVAX. We will keep giving 50 per cent of everything we make to India and to COVAX at the same time. India has such a large population that we will probably end up giving the majority of those 50 million doses to India first.”

Talking about vaccine’s efficacy and safety, Mr Poonawalla said that the AstraZeneca Plc will soon release data showing that the effectiveness of its covid-19 vaccine rises to 95 per cent after following two dose regimen with the second shot injected after 2-3 months.

“You’ll be hearing some good news from the UK very soon… It would be a 90-95% effective vaccine if you just keep a two-to-three months’ gap between dose 1 and dose 2. They will make that public with documentation,” he said. 

His comments come after a statement by AstraZeneca’s CEO Pascal Soirot in an interview said that the company has figured out a winning formula to match the efficacy rates of Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines. 

Poonawalla also talked about concerns surrounding the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccine. “Regulators are evaluating the data…A lot of people keep raising issues. There are no concerns at all. 92 to 95 per cent vaccine efficiency is there,” he said.

Meanwhile, according to sources, India may grant regulatory approval to SII after AstraZeneca officially releases statement citing the clearer efficacy rate and safety of their covid-19 vaccine.

As on date, eight vaccines in India are undergoing different stage trials. Of these, three vaccines are indigenous. 

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