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COVID-19 vaccine will be called 'Covishield' in India, says Adar Poonawalla

The Serum Institute of India will begin phase-III human clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the country in August with 4,000-5,000 volunteers, said its CEO Adar Poonawalla

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | July 22, 2020 | Updated 15:45 IST
COVID-19 vaccine will be called 'Covishield' in India, says Adar Poonawalla
Serum Institute of India CEO Adar said that the inoculation will mostly be procured by governments, which will distribute them free of cost through immunisation programmes

The COVID-19 vaccine being designed and developed by Oxford University and UK-based AstraZeneca will be called Covishield in India.

Serum Institute of India will conduct human trials in India and will also manufacture the inoculation in the country.

The vaccine maker will begin phase-III human clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the country in August with 4,000-5,000 volunteers, said its CEO Adar Poonawalla.

Talking to India Today TV, he said that 50 per cent of the vaccine doses that will be manufactured by the Serum Institute will be supplied to India and the rest to other nations.

Also Read: COVID-19 vaccine to cost under Rs 1,000 per dose, says Adar Poonawalla

The Serum Institute last month signed an agreement with Oxford University and AstraZeneca to supply one billion doses to India and other low-and-middle-income countries.

Poonawalla further stated that the inoculation will mostly be procured by governments, which will distribute them free of cost through immunisation programmes.

He expressed hope that if human trials of the vaccine go fine with favourable results, Serum Institute would be producing it as a partner with Oxford University.

Also Read: Russia inches closer to coronavirus vaccine; 'ready for use,' says minister

He underscored that the company is seeking regulatory approval from the government to conduct phase-III clinical trials of the vaccine, following which it will begin manufacturing it at a mass scale.

"We have said that we want to give half of our (vaccine) production to India and the other half to other countries on a pro-rata basis every month. The government has been supportive. We need to understand that this is a global crisis and people across the world need to be protected. It's important that we equally immunise the entire world," Poonawalla told the news channel.

He highlighted that if the human trials and results go as planned, the Serum Institute would be able to manufacture a few million shots of the vaccine by November-December, and approximately 300-400 million doses by the first quarter of 2021 for mass usage.

Also Read: COVID-19 vaccine update: Oxford drug gives hope; Serum Institute to seek human trials in India soon

When asked about who would get the inoculation in the first batch, Poonawalla enunciated that the government will take a call on it.

Talking about the cost of the vaccine, considering the Serum Institute would be targeting low- and middle-income countries, including India, Poonawalla said the company would keep the price under Rs 1,000 per dose.

Also Read: Coronavirus update: 7 Indian firms in race to find COVID-19 vaccine

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