The COVID-19 vaccine, designed and developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, will cost under Rs 1,000 per shot, said Adar Poonawalla, CEO, Serum Institute of India. He stated that the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer will start phase-III human clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine in India from August with 4,000-5,000 volunteers.
The inoculation, designed by the University of Oxford and developed by UK-based biopharma company AstraZeneca, was found to be safe, prompting a strong immune response in over a thousand people it was administered to in early human trials.
The preliminary findings were published on Monday in The Lancet Medical Journal. AstraZeneca and Oxford University have chosen the Serum Institute to produce the vaccine in India once it is ready.
Shedding more light on what would be the next course of action for the Serum Institute, Poonawalla told Mint that he is “hoping to get approvals” from the government “in about two weeks” of applying for permission to conduct the COVID-19 vaccine trials in India.
He added that following this, the company will begin phase-III human trials in the country and will soon begin manufacturing the vaccine as well.
Poonawalla had said on Monday that the Serum Institute will apply for COVID-19 vaccine trials within a week.
Talking about the cost of the vaccine, considering the Serum Institute would be targeting low- and middle-income countries, including India, Poonawalla said the company would keep the price under Rs 1,000 per dose.
He further expressed certitude that the governments across such nations will procure and distribute the vaccine “without charge”.
Poonawalla clarified that the Serum Institute is “well-equipped with state-of-the-art technology to manufacture the COVID-19 vaccine.”
The vaccine maker had last month signed a deal with AstraZeneca to supply one billion doses to India and other low-and-middle-income countries