Serum Institute to be ready with coronavirus vaccine by 2022

SII announced that a vaccine candidate for the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 2,000 people in China since its outbreak in December-end, is expected to progress to human trial phase within the next six months. SII is the world's largest vaccine manufacturer by a number of doses produced and sold globally, with more than 1.5 billion-doses so far.

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PUNE: City-based Serum Institute of India (SII) on Wednesday said it expects to be ready with a vaccine against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) by early 2022.

SII announced that a vaccine candidate for the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 2,000 people in China since its outbreak in December-end, is expected to progress to human trial phase within the next six months.

"The vaccine candidate, developed by SII in partnership with American biotechnology firm Codagenix, has progressed to the pre-clinical test phase (the animal trial phase) and we hope to be ready with the vaccine by early 2022," SII CEO Adar Poonawalla said in a statement here.

"The combined efforts with the team at Codagenix have borne fruit and we hope to save millions of lives with this vaccine," he said.

The statement said since the novel coronavirus has affected the lives of thousands of people on the planet, a preventive measure has become a necessity.

"While several efforts have been made to finding a cure as well as in controlling the outbreak, this is the first vaccine-virus strain to progress to the pre-clinical trial phase," the company said.

The vaccine-virus strain is identical to the original virus and can generate a robust immune response, Poonawalla said.

The vaccine-virus strain will be the fastest such Made in India vaccine to progress to the human trials phase within six months, he said.

The cost of the project is up to Rs 300 crore, for which SII aims to secure external funding via various global partners, he said.

Poonawalla said they are in talks with several firms across the globe for potential partnerships.

"We are not excluding China as a potential site for our clinical trials. By August-end, we will have data on mice and primates to submit to regulatory authorities to enter into the human trials phase," he said.

SII is the world's largest vaccine manufacturer by a number of doses produced and sold globally, with more than 1.5 billion doses so far

Source: The Economic Time (19th Feb 2020)