CEO of the world’s largest vaccine producer says he believes UK will be among the first countries to receive the new coronavirus coup.
Institut du sérum d’Adar Poonawalla Inde has pledged to produce one billion doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine once the necessary safety tests have been passed.
Speaking to ITV News, he said his company is set and ready to take the vaccine off the production line and into the arms of the world once the necessary clearances are given.
“The Indians will get it first, at least from what I’m doing, and you’re going to ask AstraZeneca to produce it for the UK,” he said.
“So if you’re talking from a global perspective, it’s probably the UK that will get it first. Then you’re going to have other countries maybe in Europe at the same time after what AstraZeneca has planned there.
“And then you have India, as soon as we start getting, as soon as we get our emergency use license, we’ll give it to India and start offering it to African countries. “
The Oxford vaccine has the added benefit of being able to be stored at refrigerator temperature and its cost is low compared to some of its other competitors, making it a viable option for the most disadvantaged regions of the world.
This, Mr Poonawalla says, means he can be a “vaccine for the world”.
“It protects the elderly, gives you a good T cell response and there have been no cases of hospitalization,” he said.
“It’s very affordable because we do it so that’s the added bonus. And so you have five or six of these perks and bonuses and so it’s the most universal.
“It will probably be the most universally used vaccine. “
Logistical concerns regarding vaccine distribution in India have been raised, but Mr Poonawalla believes the necessary infrastructure is in place to ensure that up to 400 million doses can be transported from the production chain to different parts of the country. by the end of July.
Mr. Poonawalla said: “We rely mainly on government infrastructure, which is very present.“And they’re used to manipulating in any way five to 600 million doses of vaccine a year. “He added: “We will call on other private actors, whether they are hospitals or other cultural logistics companies to be able to distribute the transport and store these vaccines. He said the original plan was to produce 400 million doses by July 2021, which is “very easy.”
The 39-year-old CEO joined his father’s company in 2001. The Poonawalla family inherited land in Pune, India, but has been a major global vaccine player since its inception in 1966.
The world has become so dependent on their vaccines, John Irvine, ITV News correspondent, described Mr. Poonawall as the “Henry Ford of vaccines.”
“I wouldn’t go that far,” Poonawalla said.
“We just tried to do our best and I know it all looks like this right now. It’s overwhelming, and I’m truly honored by it, with the encouragement, our encouragement and our love and support that everyone has given us.
“I just hope I can now execute and keep all of these big promises that we made, you know, so I think that’s what we’re expecting in 2021, like you say, it’s a huge responsibility on my shoulders. everyone at Serum Institute. And I really hope we can meet our expectations. ”