Coronavirus vaccine update: The government has started making a priority list of those who will get the first vaccine shots once it becomes available.
The Centre has begun working on an "approach paper" for which a nationwide sero-prevalence study will be conducted, a source told Business Standard.
The report added that some experts on the panel had felt the need to use seroprevalence data to exempt people from giving a vaccine shot who had developed antibodies.
E. Sreekumar, chief scientific officer at the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, told the publication that when the COVID-19 vaccine will be ready, there's a possibility that the Centre may conduct a seroprevalence study to understand the prevalence of infection among the country's population. Sreekumar added that the seroprevalence data may help to weed out people from having COVID-19 vaccine shots who have already developed antibodies against the virus.
The expert group of the committee, headed by Dr. VK Paul, is also in contact with domestic as well as multinational vaccine makers to understand how soon a COVID-19 vaccine will be ready.
Indigenous vaccine makers including the Serum Institute of India (SII), Cadila Healthcare, Bharat Biotech, Panacea Biotec, Biological E, and Indian Immunologicals are in several stages of coronavirus vaccine development. Among them -- SII, Bharat Biotech, and Cadila Healthcare's vaccine candidates have reached the Phase 3and Phase 2 human clinical trial stages.
SII has partnered with British drug major AstraZeneca, which is working with the University of Oxford and with Novavax for their COVID-19 vaccine candidates.
The multinational vaccine makers which have been contacted by the expert group are Sanofi Pasteur and Pfizer. Sanofi Pasteur is working on a recombinant DNA technology-based vaccine while Pfizer is working with German partner BioNTech.
The committee is in talks with a "fill-and-finish" company that will package the vaccine.
Meanwhile, as per a report by Bernstein Research, a top Wall Street research and brokerage firm, "India is on course to have an 'approved' vaccine within the first quarter of the calendar year 2021".As per the report, there are four candidates that are close to approval by the end of CY2020 or early 2020, globally. And, India has access to two of those-- AstraZeneca/ Oxford's viral vector vaccine, and Novavax's protein subunit vaccine.
The report says the Serum Institute could supply 600 million doses next year and one billion doses in 2022. The report estimates that vaccine volumes will be split between 55:45 between the government and the private markets.
In early August, SII entered into a partnership with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate the manufacturing and delivery process of 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccine for India and low-and-middle-income countries.
According to Bernstein, the overall vaccine market in India is estimated at $6 billion in FY22.