New Delhi, Jan 14
With doubts emerging about the efficacy of China’ Coronavirus vaccine, CoronaVac during trials in Brazil & elsewhere, countries are scouting for Indian vaccines now.
With reports surfacing that CoronaVac, manufactured by Beijing-based Sinovac, showed only 50% efficacy, these countries are now knocking at India’s door. India is one of the largest vaccine suppliers.
While Seerum had already signed MOUs with Gavi-COVAX under the aegis of the World Health Organization (WHO) to supply up to 400 million doses and Bangladesh , a crisis of sort is erupting in Brazil, Indonesia and ten other countries who were dependent solely upon the Chinese Vaccine.
They had agreed to buy 400 million doses of CoronaVac and now want alternative vaccines too. Bharat Biotech is now in talks with Brazil to supply Covaxin, according to sources.
The Indian Government has given permission in principle to Indian vaccine manufacturers to export after meeting domestic demand. Rather, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is actively involved in the process through members of his task force on vaccine management headed by Dr V K Paul and Ministry of External Affairs.
Seerum has capacity to produce up to 100 million a month and got funding of $300 million from the Bill Gate Melinda Foundation to supply vaccines to GAVI. Bharat Biotech can raise its annual capacity to 200 million a year from the present 100 million.
The government has said Covishield & Covaxin can export to neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Maldives, African and South American countries. The shipments will also reach Bhutan, Nepal, Afghanistan and Myanmar at a later stage.
Modi had spoken to leaders of various SAARC nations earlier in this regard. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had said last week there was no bar on the export of Covishield or Covaxin but India’s requirements will get the first priority.