As the world races to develop the vaccine for Covid-19, India is looking to be self-reliant in both its development and production.
While at least five pharmaceutical companies of India are engaged in vaccine development, Serum Institute in Pune has been chosen for mass production of Covishield vaccine developed by Oxford –Astra Zeneca. The government has initiated a robust Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing and delivery ecosystem to meet the demand.
Rs 900 cr Mission Covid Suraksha Stimulus Package
Government of India has announced a stimulus package of Rs. 900 Crore for the Mission Covid Suraksha to promote indigenous vaccine development. The Covid-19 Vaccine Development Mission with end-to-end focus from preclinical development, through clinical development and manufacturing and regulatory facilitation for deployment, would consolidate all available and funded resources towards an accelerated product development.
The other important objective will be supporting the development of common harmonized protocols, training, data management systems, regulatory submissions, internal and external quality management systems and accreditations.
This grant will be provided to the Department of Biotechnology for Research & Development of Indian COVID-19 vaccines and ensure that they are fast tracked for introduction in public health systems, subject to all regulatory clearances. A total of 10 vaccine candidates have been supported by Department of Biotechnology so far at both academia and industry and as on date, five vaccine candidates are in human trials stage.
Growing world interest in India’s pharma capability
Ambassadors of 100 countries are scheduled to arrive in Pune on December 4, to visit Serum Institute of India and Gennova Biopharma. Sweden has already acknowledged India’s role as the ‘pharmacy of the world’ and is focusing on expanding bilateral cooperation in the areas of health and life sciences in view of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, Luxembourg based company B Systems is partnering with India to produce portable vaccine refrigeration equipment, which will address the issue of vaccine distribution in India. It may be recalled that Prim Minister Modi had held a virtual summit with his Luxembourg counterpart Xavier Bettel on November 19 during which stress was laid on intensifying bilateral cooperation.
Prime Minister has been personally monitoring the progress of vaccine development in India. He followed up his 3 city visit to the facilities of Zydus in Ahmedabad, Serum Institute in Pune and Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad on Saturday, with a virtual review of progress of indigenous vaccine development undertaken by Gennova Biopharma of Pune and Biological E and Dr.Reddy’s Laboratories in Hyderabad today.
PM asked the companies to come out with their suggestions and ideas regarding the regulatory processes and related matters. He also suggested that they should take extra efforts to inform the general public in simple language about the vaccine and related matters such as its efficacy etc. Matters relating to logistics, transport, cold chain etc. in respect of delivering the vaccines were also discussed.