Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine maker, may double the production of AstraZeneca-Oxford’s vaccine Covishield. Sources with knowledge of the matter said that the company is working on a plan to increase the production of this vaccine from 100 million doses per month to 200 million doses next year. This Pune-based company has achieved the capacity to make 3 billion doses (COVID and other vaccines) vaccines per year. By the end of 2022, the company will increase this capacity to over 4 billion doses annually.
At a recent event, Nadeem Jahavi, the minister in charge of the allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine in Britain, said that SII is going to increase the production of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine from the current 100 million doses to 200 million doses per month. Jahavi did not specify a time frame for this but said that SII is fully capable of supplying the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine to the UK. He said that increasing the production of the COVID-19 vaccine is a big thing for Britain, India, and the whole world.
SII declined to comment on a query on increasing production. Presently, SII is manufacturing around 90 million doses of Covishield every month and by August it will be producing 100 million doses. A company source said, “Plans are underway to increase production of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine. However, this will not happen immediately and it will be possible in early 2022. A lot will also depend on the demand for the vaccine.
SII is also setting up a plant in Pune for the production of other vaccines. Some of these vaccines will be ready to hit the market after a few years, by which time the production of the COVID-19 vaccine will be started in these plants if needed. Apart from Covishield, the company has also started production of the Novavax vaccine Kovovax in Pune. The company will increase its production to 4-5 crore doses per month by September. By then, Novavax is also expected to receive approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) to use its vaccine.
Covishield and Novavax will add 1.8 billion doses annually to production capacity after reaching 100 million and 50 million doses each month, respectively. Not only this, the company Kodagenics is preparing to produce the COVID-19 vaccine.