'Finally paid off,' says Adar Poonawalla after Covishield gets approval
Serum Institute of India's (SII) chief Adar Poonawalla today wished everyone a happy new year along with a great announcement.
He said all the risks have finally paid off as Covishield, the coronavirus vaccine, which has been developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca and manufactured in India by the SII, received the final approval from the country's drug regulator.
Here are more details.
Ready to roll out in the coming weeks: Poonawalla
"Happy new year, everyone! All the risks @SerumInstIndia took with stockpiling the vaccine, have finally paid off. COVISHIELD, India's first COVID-19 vaccine is approved, safe, effective and ready to roll-out in the coming weeks (sic)," Poonawalla tweeted.
He thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Indian Council of Medical Research, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), and other stakeholders.
You can read Poonawalla's tweet here
Happy new year, everyone! All the risks @SerumInstIndia took with stockpiling the vaccine, have finally paid off. COVISHIELD, India's first COVID-19 vaccine is approved, safe, effective and ready to roll-out in the coming weeks. pic.twitter.com/TcKh4bZIKK— Adar Poonawalla (@adarpoonawalla) January 3, 2021
Serum had already stockpiled 40-50 million doses
Even before getting the final nod from DCGI, the SII stockpiled about 40-50 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, taking a huge risk in case its application got turned down by the apex drug regulator of India.
SII, which is the largest vaccine maker in the world, has now set a target of producing around 300 million doses of Covishield by July this year.
DCGI approved two COVID-19 vaccines today
DCGI on Sunday gave approval to Covishield as well as COVAXIN developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in India.
"We would never approve (a vaccine) if there are any safety concerns... The vaccines are 110% safe (sic)," the top drug regulator assured.
Earlier, the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standards Control Organization (CDSCO) had recommended their emergency approval.
It would make every Indian proud, said PM Modi
Calling the development a "turning point," PM Modi congratulated the scientists and Indian citizens.
"It would make every Indian proud that the two vaccines that have been given emergency use approval are made in India! This shows the eagerness of our scientific community to fulfill the dream of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat [self-reliant India], at the root of which is care and compassion," he tweeted.
COVID-19 outbreak in India
India, which is the second worst-affected country in the coronavirus outbreak after the United States, reported 18,177 new infections in the past 24 hours. Its total caseload currently stands at 1,03,23,965 and death toll at 1,49,435.