Serum Institute of India (SII) aims to be ready with the first batch of doses for use by September or October, company's chief executive Adar Poonawalla said. The company is also working on conducting human trials in India in May 2020, Poonawalla also said. "While the clinical trials have already commenced in the UK, we are simultaneously initiating production as well, in the hope that when the trials are successful, we will have the first batch of doses ready for use by September or October," Poonawalla said.
"The decision has been solely taken to have a jump-start on manufacturing, to have enough doses available and the distribution of the doses will commence only once the trials are successful and the vaccine is efficacious as well as safe for use. We are also working on conducting human trials in India in May 2020," he said. Even though too early, the company plans to sell the vaccine, if developed, for just Rs 1,000 per dose, Poonawalla added.
Serum Institute recently launched three critical initiatives for fighting coronavirus - one with UK's Oxford University, one with US-based biotech company Codagenix, and its own recombinant BCG vaccine. "We aim to manufacture 4-5 million doses per month, following which, we hope to scale up production to 10 million doses per month, based on the success of the trials. We are looking forward to produce around 20-40 million doses by September-October," Poonawalla said.
Meanwhile, the total count of confirmed coronavirus cases breached the 31,000-mark to stand at 31,332 including 22,629 active cases, 7,695 cured or discharged, 1 migrated and 1,007 deaths, according to the latest update by the Union Health Ministry. The country registered 1,897 cases, 73 deaths in 24 hours, steepest rise in deaths in India in one day. Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is likely to address the nation at the end of this week is likely to extend the lockdown beyond May 3.