Pune: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Chief and senior politician Sharad Pawar visited the Serum Institute of India (SII) - the manufacturer of immunobiological drugs and vaccines in India - on Saturday (August 1) afternoon. Pawar has said that Serum is striving to make the vaccine for COVID-19 available in India by the end of the year 2020.
SII has applied for a license from Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) to start clinical trials of 'Covishield' - the COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Jenner Institute of Oxford University in collaboration with British-Swedish pharma company AstraZeneca.
Pawar visited SII's facility located in Manjari near Hadapsar on Saturday afternoon. Pawar discussed various aspects of the vaccine production and distribution with SII's founder Cyrus Poonawala and Adar Poonawala. Pawar tweeted about his visit to the company on Saturday late at night.
In his tweet made at 10.46 pm on Saturday, Pawar said, "I visited the Serum Institute at Manjari which is developing a vaccine to prevent the coronavirus infections. The company is one of the global vaccine manufacturers and produces 1.5 billion doses every year at this facility.
In his second tweet, Pawar has said, "The SII provides vaccines manufactured here to 189 countries. It includes vaccines for Polio, Rubella, Flu and other diseases. Serum Institute is striving to make the vaccine for COVID-19 available by the end of 2020."
SII was founded by Cyrus Poonawalla in 1966. SII will be manufacturing the vaccine shots developed by Oxford and its partner AstraZeneca once it gets ready. SII had said that it has taken a risk by starting manufacturing the vaccine even before the approvals in order to be ready with sizable volumes once the vaccine gets all permissions.
The CDSCO expert committee had asked SII to make changes in its first proposal in eight parameters, including distribution of sites and dropout rate. The company had then sent the revised proposal within a few hours on July 31. The phase 2 and 3 trials are expected to begin in India within two weeks.