Pune-based Serum Institute of India will soon be sending Oxford-AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine to Canada. SII Pune CEO Adar Poonawalla on Twitter informed that his firm would supply Covishield vaccine to Canada 'in less than a month' after receiving regulatory approval from the Justin Trudeau government.
"Dear Hon'ble PM Justin Trudeau, I thank you for your warm words towards India and its vaccine industry. As we await regulatory approvals from Canada, I assure you, Serum Institute of India will fly out COVISHIELD to Canada in less than a month; I'm on it!", Poonawalla wrote on Twitter.
Dear Hon’ble PM @JustinTrudeau, I thank you for your warm words towards India and it’s vaccine industry. As we await regulatory approvals from Canada, I assure you, @SerumInstIndia will fly out #COVISHIELD to Canada in less than a month; I’m on it!— Adar Poonawalla (@adarpoonawalla) February 15, 2021
Serum Institute has applied for registration with Health Canada with the help of Toronto-based Verity Pharmaceuticals, Poonawalla said in a report in Economic Times. AstraZeneca and Oxford have authorised Serum Institute, which is the world's largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, to supply Covishield in certain territories including Canada.
It must be noted that SII-Pune has tied up with British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford to manufacture the COVID-19 vaccine in India.
The Justin Trudeau government in Canada plans to vaccinate its citizens by September 2021 but has faltered in its goal. Although it has advance purchase agreements with all vaccine makers, it is slow in its inoculation drive because of supply delays by companies like Pfizer and Moderna.
Currently, the Canadian regulators are reviewing AstraZeneca's vaccine. The approval is said to be done under the interim order pathway which will facilitate timely access for Canadians to drugs and vaccines that have demonstrated the ability to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure COVID-19.
Separately, the Indian government has authorised to supply 24 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 25 countries on a commercial basis this month.
So far, 16.7 million doses of Covishield have been supplied to 20 countries. This includes approximately 6.3 million doses that were supplied free to 13 countries -- Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bahrain Oman and the Caribbean. About 10 million more doses were exported on a commercial basis to Brazil, Morocco, South Africa, Algeria, and Egypt among others. Commercial supplies in February will include Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Mauritius, Serbia, UAE, and Qatar. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) would oversee the export of the vaccine.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation has granted emergency authorisation to AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine, a move that should allow the UN agency's partners to ship millions of doses to countries worldwide as part of a UN-backed programme to tame the pandemic.
WHO's a green light for the AstraZeneca vaccine is only the second one the UN health agency has issued after approving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in December.