The Serum Institute of India is working to market its two key vaccines for Covid — Covovax and Covishield — in China, which is seeing a resurgence of the pandemic. “It is very important for the world to get back to its supply chain issues and investment… (so) it is better for the world that China recovers from this,” SII chief Adar Ponawala told NDTV in an exclusive interview today.
“We are trying to engage with China and telling them to set aside political differences, issues and apprehensions and take some of he western vaccines as a booster,” he said.
Asked about China’s response, he said, “I think they are deciding which way they want to go… I just hope they decide one way or another quickly”.
The fresh outbreak in China that started last year has been attributed to a cocktail of viruses by Indian health experts. In an interview with NDTV last year, NK Arora, the chief of Centre’s Covid panel, said, “In China they have not been exposed to the virus before, and the vaccine they got is probably less effective. Most of them received three to four doses”.
Mr Poonawalla told NDTV that Covovax is proven and works well against Omicron. Its response is two or three times higher than even Covishield — one of the two vaccines first introduced in India and in many other countries.
The new vaccine, Mr Poonawalla said, will cost around Rs 200-300 and will soon be on the Centre’s CoWin app.
SII, Mr Poonawalla said, has also submitted data on its malaria vaccine to the World Health Organisation. The vaccine, he said, has shown to be effective in more than 77 per cent cases and they are expecting to roll it out by the year-end in Africa.
The largest manufacturer of vaccine in India, SII is also working on a vaccine for dengue, which is in phase 2-3 clinical trials. The vaccine, to be administered in three doses, can be ready in two years, he added.