Wait for another six months for COVID19 vaccine says Adar Poonawala

Adar Poonawalla
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Mrunal Jadhav

Pune, July 8, 2020: “We are in no hurry to produce coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at present and are ready to wait for another six months,” stated the Pune-based Serum Institute of India’s chief executive officer Adar Poonawalla. While, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has recently announced that it aims to introduce indigenous Covaxin by August 15 (Independence Day), which has been criticised by the scientist community stating that vaccines can’t be ‘ordered or set deadline’.

At the launch of Mylab’s updated automatic RT-PCR testing machine on Tuesday, Poonawalla clarified that the institute will not rush into introducing the vaccine until it fulfills all the criteria. He told in the press conference, “We are primarily emphasising on safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. Therefore, I am not in a hurry to produce a vaccine.”

Speaking about the product he said, “this system can perform 400 tests a day with a single person operating it, thus saving us precious manpower and time, allowing us to open up the country more, by testing faster, more efficiently and on a large scale. The test result will be available in half an hour.”

“The government should increase the number of testings and would lead to an increase in the number of cases. It is not dangerous. However, death can be fatal. There is a need to increase the number of tests to reduce the death rate,” he added.

The Serum Institute is working on COVID-19 vaccine tests in collaboration with Oxford University. “We expect to make this vaccine available in the market by September-October only after the vaccine’s safety and efficiency are successful,” Poonawala said last month.

If the clinical trials are successful, then vaccines will be produced in an adequate amount. It aims to provide about 5 million vaccines for the first six months. “After that, we will provide 100 crore doses per month on the success of the tests. We will continue to make this product available in more and more countries, including India”, he said.