On Friday, November 27, ambassadors and high commissioners from New Delhi will arrive for a “familiarisation visit” of the manufacturing facilities of these companies. The aim is to give a tour of the manufacturing and scientific set-up of India’s vaccine makers.
The move comes as the Indian government thinks that it has sufficient doses of vaccine for its population and can also supply to other nations that might be left out in the Covid-19 vaccine race as countries in Europe and US secure their own doses, said an official.
India is one of the biggest manufacturers of vaccines in the world and Indian companies are one of the largest suppliers of vaccines to organizations such as GAVI and UNICEF who distribute them to low- and middle-income countries.
For Covid-19 vaccines, India has access to over three billion doses, one of the largest in the world, thanks to the manufacturing partnerships struck by Indian vaccine makers. Serum Institute of India has an agreement to manufacture up to 2 billion doses of vaccines of the AstraZeneca-Oxford and US drug maker Novavax.
Companies such as Biological E have partnership with US drug maker Johnson and Johnson with a capacity to manufacture over 100 million doses, Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy’s Labs has a joint venture with Russia’s Gamaleya Institute of Infectious Disease to manufacture 100 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccines. This is besides the vaccine development done by Indian companies such as Bharat Biotech, which is in talks with countries in Latin America and South Asia to supply their indigenous Covid-19 vaccines.
Serum Institute of India has said that it can manufacture up to 400 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine by April 2021 and by the end of this year it can supply 100 million doses. The company has already signed a JV with the Bangladesh government to supply vaccines. This is besides the commitment it has made to supply the Covax facility of the WHO that would cover 20% of the most vulnerable population of lower middle income countries (LMIC).
The visit to Gennova facility is also included in this trip as the Indian government wants countries to get familiar with the mRNA technology that is being developed by the Pune-based biotech firm. The mRNA technology is the same vaccine platform that US drug makers Pfizer, Biontech and Moderna are developing. It is one of the new vaccine platforms and has shown an efficacy of 95% in randomised clinical trials.