The Serum Institute is a company that has received central government approval and financial support from the Department of Biotechnology for the Covid 19 vaccine research and construction. The Serum Institute is a partner in the vaccine research of Oxford University. Purushothaman C, director of the company and a resident of Cherukunnu, Kannur, said the research has reached the stage of human trials. Exclusive interview given for Manorama ..
At what stage is the construction of the Covid 19 vaccine now?
Preparations for the industrial construction of the vaccine are now underway with the completion of technical studies and preliminary experiments. The vaccine will be launched in late September or early October. Serum-Oxford vaccine has been tested in humans in various countries including Britain. Industrial production began in June and is expected to be ready by the end of September, with a dose of 2 million. The first batch will be launched once the human test is successful and the approval of the Ministry of Health is obtained. To avoid delays, the company has already begun industrial construction as human trials are in progress.
Considering the enormous cost of research and production, is it worthwhile to vaccinate for Rs 1000?
If the vaccine is to be useful to the general public in the country, then the price cannot be reduced. That is why the amount is predetermined. The company is confident that its exports will be offset by losses from the Indian market.
What is Oxford University’s role in vaccine manufacturing?
Serum is one of only seven institutions in the world to have the cooperation of Oxford University for the detection and manufacture of the vaccine. The technology for vaccine manufacturing is from Oxford. But technology alone is not enough for the massive and effective manufacture of vaccines. We need more fast-dose equipment and modern facility plants. These new facilities will take months for new companies to step up in vaccine manufacturing. Meanwhile, all these facilities are already in place at the Serum Institute. Serum is the company with all the infrastructure needed to reach the target very quickly with the help of Oxford University’s technology.
Doctors in Pune’s factories will meet the world’s high demand. How many doses can be made per month?
From June to September, 50–60 lakh doses are produced monthly. It will be increased to 80 lakh doses from October. The Sirum campus in Pune covers 110 acres. Considering the morbidity and mortality rate, the company has decided to reallocate its plant capacity to covid vaccine.
How long does the company’s estimate of how long this current fear of cowardice will last?
Like diseases like measles and polio, Covid 19 also persists for a long time in the world. It will take years to get rid of the disease completely. The vaccine policy of various countries, including India, therefore requires the inclusion of Covid19 vaccination.
Which of these companies has developed nasal spray for H1N1?
We are a company that started in 1966 and started exporting vaccine in 1995. Today serum products are exported to 170 countries around the world. The SI manufactures the vaccine for one-third of all children born in the world. Serum is responsible for 70% of the world’s vaccine manufacturing. Serum nasal spray is one of the most effective remedies for H1N1.