Dampening hopes of a Covid-19 vaccine by year-end, the chief executive of the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines has said that adequate Coronavirus vaccine will not be available for everybody in the world to be immunized until the end of 2024. In an interview with the Financial Times, Adar Poonawalla, chief executive of the Serum Institute of India, said that pharma firms were not ramping up production capacity swiftly to be able to inoculate the world population in less duration.
It’s going to take four to five years until everyone gets the vaccine on this planet,’ Poonawalla was quoted as saying.
Poonawala had earlier predicted that if the coronavirus shot is a two-dose vaccine, as is the case with measles or rotavirus, then the world would require 15 billion doses.
The family-operated Serum Institute, which is in Pune, has partnered with five international pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca and Novavax, to develop a coronavirus vaccine and pledged to manufacture one billion doses, out of which it has promised 50% to India. The firm may also tie-up with Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute to produce the Sputnik vaccine.
Poonawalla’s remarks on vaccine production and distribution are crucial, in view of the Serum Institute taking on the task of manufacturing shots for the majority of the developing world. Furthermore, his statements have increased scepticism on claims by political leaders who have committed to vaccines by next month amid concerns that huge pre-orders from Europe and US will result in developing countries being bumped to the bottom of the list.