Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to visit the Serum Institute of India — which has an agreement with AstraZeneca to manufacture the Oxford University vaccine — on Saturday to understand the process of vaccine production and distribution.
“Honourable Prime Minister’s visit to Pune has been confirmed and he will visit Serum Institute. The minute-to-minute programme is expected soon,” Pune Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao said. Top administrative and police officials from Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad have already held meetings for various arrangements to be made for the visit of PM Modi.
In view of this, a ‘familiarisation visit’ to Pune of foreign ambassadors and high commissioners on November 27 has been postponed to December 4.
Rao added, “Ambassadors and High Commissioners from around 100 countries are slated to come to Pune on December 4. The Ambassadors and High Commissioners would visit both Serum Institute and Gennova Biopharmaceuticals.” Officials have said that PM and diplomats are visiting Pune to ‘understand the process of vaccine production and distribution.’
Meanwhile, in an email response to queries by The Indian Express, Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute, said that Phase 3 trials of the Covishield vaccine were underway. “While UK trial results have been released, we expect the data on the Indian trials to be out within a month or so,” he said. “We want the vaccine to be affordable and accessible to all. For now, it is at a nominal price range of US $ 5-6 per dose . The Indian government will receive a far more affordable price of US $3-4, since it will be buying the vaccines in a larger volume,” said Poonawalla. While the doses will be made available to the Indian government on a priority basis, the vaccine will probably be available in private markets post March-April next year, said Poonawalla.
Meanwhile, Pune-based Gennova Biopharmaceuticals is all set to start Phase 1 human clinical trials of its Covid 19 vaccine candidate. After Moderna and Pfizer, Gennova biopharmaceuticals is the only Indian company that has worked on making the mRNA based Covid vaccine. The first two Covid 19 vaccines to announce phase 3 results were mRNA based.
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