India can play an important role in vaccine production

India can play an important role in vaccine production

A doctor carries vials of Covaxin for the Covid-19 vaccine during a nationwide vaccination campaign, in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, Saturday, February 6, 2021.

Vishal Bhatnagar | Norphoto | Getty Images

India could become the second largest manufacturer of the Covid vaccine in the world, and analysts say the country has the capacity to produce for both its residents and other developing countries.

Historically, most of the world’s vaccines have come from India. Even before Covid-19, the South Asian country produced up to 60% of the world’s vaccines – and it could do so at relatively low cost.

JP Morgan analysts wrote in a report last month: “India was a vaccine manufacturing hub … even before the pandemic, and therefore it should be a strategic partner in the global vaccination against COVID-19.”

Deloitte, a consultancy firm, expects India to come second after the United States in producing a coronavirus vaccine this year. P.S. Easwaran, partner in Deloitte India, said that more than 3.5 billion Covid vaccines could be manufactured in the country in 2021, compared to about 4 billion in the United States.

Moreover, companies in India are currently working to increase production to meet the demand.

“We are expanding our annual capacity to deliver 700 million doses of intramuscular COVAXIN,” said Indian company Bharat Biotech, which jointly developed the Covid vaccine with the state-run Indian Council of Medical Research.

Covaxin is approved for emergency use in India, however It was mired in controversy due to criticism that there was no transparency in its approval, and also because it did not publish enough efficacy data..

India’s vaccines are suitable for the developing world

Another vaccine – known as Covishield in India and co-developed it AstraZeneca And the University of Oxford – emergency approval has also been granted in India. It is locally produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII).

According to Reuters, SII produces about 50 million doses of Coffeeshield every month. And planning to Increase production to 100 million doses per month by March.

Other Indian companies have agreed to produce vaccines for developers such as the Russian Direct Investment Fund and an American company Johnson & Johnson. To be clear, these candidate vaccines have not yet been approved for use.

Even without developing a successful vaccine from their pipelines, the available capacity provides an opportunity to partner as contract manufacturers with certified vaccine developers to cater to the supply needs especially for India and others. [emerging markets]The JP Morgan report said.

With a proven track record on the scale of vaccine production, India must be able to increase production to meet international demand as well.

Nessie Solomon

Public Policy Research Center

Srinath Reddy, head of Public Health Corporation of India, said that Indian vaccines will likely be more suitable for developing countries.

Some of the pioneering vaccines currently, such as the one in PfizerBiotechnology And the Modern, Utilizing messenger RNA (mRNA) technology that uses genetic material to stimulate the infection-fighting process in the body.

These vaccines, Reddy said, require “stringent cold chain requirements” that would be tough, or even “out of the box” for most health systems.

He added that vaccines made in India are easier to transport and cheaper, which puts the country in a better position than the United States and Europe when it comes to meeting demand in the developing world.

India Proven Registry

India’s vast production capacity also gives analysts confidence that the country can provide vaccines to other countries.

New Delhi has pledged to send vaccines to its neighboring countries, and It has already delivered 15.6 million doses to 17 countries, according to Reuters.

“India’s manufacturing capabilities are sufficient to meet domestic demand,” said Nessi Solomon, senior researcher at the Center for Public Policy Research (CPPR).

“With a proven track record in vaccine production scale, India must be able to increase production to meet international demand as well,” she told CNBC.

Solomon added that the state monitors domestic needs before making decisions about exports.

For its part, Bharat Biotech said it is “fully prepared to meet the needs of India and the global public health”.

The challenge of storing and distributing vaccines

However, there will be challenges as the country seeks to meet the demand for a vaccine in India and abroad.

Abhishek Sharma, a stock analyst at Jefferies, wrote in noting that the introduction of vaccines in India has been slow. Even under the assumption that the speed of vaccination will increase, Sharma estimates that only 22% of India’s population of 1.38 billion can be vaccinated within a year.

This Approximately the number of people India wants to be vaccinated by July or August.

CPPR’s Solomon said: “Vaccine provision is not so much a problem with storage, distribution and uptake of vaccines.”

“India lacks the capacity to stockpile and distribute to the masses on a large scale like this,” she said, adding that the country should “strategically” choose vaccines that do not have to be stored at extreme temperatures.

I would say that [these challenges are] Such as speed cutters that will slow down the program, rather than the actual barriers that require the program to stop.

K Srinath Reddy

Public Health Foundation of India

The vaccines that India currently manufactures require regular refrigeration, but the vaccines it produces PfizerBiotechnology It should be kept in extremely cold temperatures below minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit), instead Modern It should be stored at a temperature below 20 ° C (minus 4 ° F).

Reddy of Public Health Foundation India said the “real challenge” is the sheer number of people who need to be vaccinated.

“This is the first time that an adult immunization program has been implemented on this unprecedented scale,” he told CNBC.

He said that immunization programs usually focus on vaccinating children and mothers, and the logistics network may not be ready to handle vaccines for the entire population.

Reddy suggested that the current cold chain of food products could be used for vaccines, and he hoped to solve this problem.

“I would say that [these challenges are] Much like the circuit breakers that will slow down … the program, not the actual barriers that require stopping the program. “

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