Don’t hold your breath ⁠— Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar Shaw says India's Covid-19 vaccine will enter clinical trials in 9 months

Biocon Founder and Executive Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar Shaw.BCCL
  • “Even after India approves the coronavirus vaccine, it might not be possible to produce more than 10-20 million doses in the first year.”
  • The comments came from the Chairperson of Biocon in an exclusive chat with Business Insider.
  • Syngene, a Biocon subsidiary, is involved in accelerating a bunch of initiatives to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus that is spreading around the world.
There are at least six vaccines under development in India, of the total 100 around the world including from the likes of Sanofi, Altimmune, and Pfizer.

“Indian vaccine programmes will take some time before they get into the clinical trials, I think between 6 to 9 months depending on the programme. At least the ones we are working on, I don’t think they can get to clinics before 9 months,” Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Founder and Executive Chairperson, Biocon told Business Insider.

Vaccine development takes time due to the phases involved

Shaw further said that vaccine development takes a lot of time because several phases are involved in it. In the first phase, a dose escalation is done to see what the ideal dose for an optimal immune response is.

In the second phase, it is tested if the immune response can be done in all age groups. This is important as the first phase is conducted with young healthy volunteers who are at minimal risk.

In the third phase, the vaccine is given to a larger population to ensure that the same immune response is given by everyone who is vaccinated.

“One of the most important things of this phase is to check how long the immunity stays. This allows to determine how often a person will have to get revaccinated,” Shaw further noted.

India will only be able to produce 10-20 million vaccines in 1 year

Speaking about the production capacity, Shaw said that even after the vaccine is approved, India may not be able to produce more than 10-20 million doses in the first year, which is a negligible amount considering India’s population.

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