After promising results from the early trials of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, the Serum Institute of India has announced a manufacturing partnership with the company for the vaccine.
The Institute has said in a recent statement that it will manufacture 1 billion doses of the vaccine, after getting the required regulatory approvals to do so. The Serum Institute of India will begin human trials for the AstraZeneca Oxford Vaccine from August, as per a report in the Times of India.
"We will...start human trials in India [of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine] in August 2020. Based on the current situation and most recent updates on the clinical trials, we are hoping that [the vaccine] will be available towards the end of this year," Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India, told Press Trust of India.
AstraZeneca has already committed to making 2 billion doses of the vaccine, and has now partnered with SII to produce 1 billion more, as per the report.
The promising Phase 1/2 vaccine trials have likely caused SII to shift from their earlier statement, that it will begin manufacturing prior to approval, so as to be ready with enough volumes once the vaccine is cleared in the vaccine's final leg of trials, and by Indian regulators.
The experimental vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, which is going by the placeholder name AZD1222, uses an inactivated (harmless) form of the COVID-causing SARS-CoV-2 virus, which the immune system uses as target practice to fight off a future coronavirus infection.
Based on the data released by the phase one/phase two study in 1,077 healthy volunteers, the vaccine was found to trigger two unique, important immune responses to the virus. Scientists say this is a good sign for the experimental vaccine candidate, retaining its status as the front-runner in the global effort to find a working vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection.