The Serum Institute of India said on Tuesday it plans this year to produce up to 60 million doses of a potential vaccine against the new coronavirus that is under clinical trial in Britain.
Serum, the world’s largest maker of vaccines by volume, is mass-producing the vaccine candidate developed by the University of Oxford, which started testing it on humans last week, and is a leader in the global race to develop an antidote to the novel coronavirus.
Some 3.05 million people have been reported to be infected globally and 211,376 have died from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, according to a Reuters tally.
While the Oxford vaccine, called “ChAdOx1 nCoV-19”, is yet to be proven to work against COVID-19, Serum decided to start manufacturing it as it had shown success in animal trials and had progressed to tests on humans, Serum Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla said.
“Being a private limited company, not accountable to public investors or bankers, I can take a little risk and sideline some of the other commercial products and projects that I had planned in my existing facility,” Poonawalla said.
As many as 100 potential COVID-19 candidate vaccines are now under development by biotech and research teams around the world, and at least five of these are in preliminary testing in people in what are known as Phase 1 clinical trials.
Poonawalla said he hoped trials of the Oxford vaccine, due to finish in about September, would be successful. Oxford scientists said last week the main focus of initial tests was to ascertain not only whether the vaccine worked but that it induced good immune responses and no unacceptable side effects.