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- Coronavirus Vaccine: Indian Company Serum Institute Bets 45 Crore On Oxford Vaccine, 50 50 Split Between India And The Rest Of The World
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Scientists working on bioreactors at Serum Institute, Pune. The coronavirus is a reliable candidate for the vaccine.
- The Serum Institute can make 100 crore doses for India, lower and middle income countries under the AstraZeneca deal.
- According to Adar Poonawala, 50-50 percent vaccine will be distributed between India and the world, more focus will be on poor countries
Geoffrey Gatelman. Big bets have been made on the manufacture of the coronavirus vaccine. The Indian company and the world's largest vaccine manufacturer Pune-based Ceram Institute is going to make millions of doses of such vaccine which is still in trials and it is possible that the drug may not work as well. If this vaccine worked, the company CEO Adar Poonawala would become the most influential person in the world.
Serum Institute is doing with Oxford
His company, along with the Serum Institute Oxford, is making the vaccine. The company had already announced a large scale vaccine before the clinical trials were over in April. In early May, the world's most trusted vaccine cellular material came from Oxford in a sealed steel box here.
500 doses will be prepared every minute
Poonawala's company is ready to make 500 doses of vaccine every minute. During this time, he is receiving calls from health ministers, Prime Ministers and other such heads of the world, whom he has not talked to for years. According to Poonawala, everyone was requesting him for the first batch of vaccine. He said- "I explained to him that look, I cannot give you this vaccine in this way."
Adar Poonawala, Chief Executive of Serum
Half of the world's children have got the vaccine for the product of Serum
Coronavirus has created worldwide upheaval and all hopes are set on the vaccine itself. In such a situation, the Serum Institute finds itself amidst very competitive and blurred efforts. To bring the vaccine out as soon as possible, the developers say they need a large vaccine assembly line from Serum. It compensates for 150 million of the second vaccine every year, which goes to most poor countries. This figure is more than any other company. Half of the world's children are vaccinated with serum products. Its scale is its specialty.
India and the rest of the world will distribute 50-50 vaccines
At the moment it is not clear whether the serum vaccine will be kept in India and who will spend it. The condition of coronaviruses in India is appalling and with about 130 crore people, the vaccine is most in need here. Apart from this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has banned the export of drugs.
Adar Poonawala says that he will distribute 50-50 lakhs of vaccines being made to India and the rest of the world. Their special focus will be on poor countries and PM Modi has no objection to this. However, he said "Look, if they want, they can still put some kind of emergency."
A computer-driven camera closely observes a crack or other problem in every vial on the assembly line.
By the time the trials are over, the vaccine will be ready
This Oxford vaccine is one of the trusted candidates. Construction will begin on a large scale even before its effect is proved in different factories around the world. The vaccine takes time to prepare. Live cultures take weeks to grow inside bioreactors. For example, it is important to clean, fill, seal and pack every vial properly.
The reason for the two processes coming together is when the vaccine is in trials and by the time the trials are over, the vaccine will be ready. American and European governments have promised to spend millions of dollars for this effort. Along with this, Johnson & Johnson has entered into production deals with big pharmaceutical names like Pfizer, Sanofi and AstraZeneca.
Adar Poonawala has converted his old airplane into an office suit on the campus of Serum.
Serum Institute is different from other companies
AstraZeneca is a partner of Oxford and has signed more than $ 100 million of government contracts to manufacture vaccines for Europe, America and other markets. However, it has also allowed the Serum Institute to produce. According to Poonawala, the difference is that his company itself is spending the production.
Apart from this, Serum Institute is different from other companies due to a special difference. Like other successful Indian businessmen, it is a family business. This company makes decisions fast and takes big risks. This decision will cost the company millions of dollars.
Poonawalla says he was "70 to 80 percent" sure that the Oxford vaccine would work, but added "I hope we don't go too deep."
If the share holders are removed, the Serum Institute is run by only two people, Adar Poonawala and his father Cyrus Poonawala. Cyrus was a horse breeder who became a billionaire. The Serum Institute began as a shed in the family's horse farm about 50 years ago. Cyrus later realized that instead of donating horses to the vaccine lab, he could also process the serum himself and make the vaccine.
In 2006 at the Poonawala sponsored race in Mumbai, Cyrus Poonawalla (center right), Cyrus started as a horse breeder and later became a billionaire.
Started with tetanus
He started with Titanus in 1967. This is followed by snake bite antidotes. Then made shots of TB, hepatitis, polio and flu. Poonawala built a large vaccine empire from a horse farm in a city in Pune.
By combining India's cheap labor and advanced technology, the Serum Institute secured contracts with UNICEF, Pan American Health Organization to supply affordable vaccines to poor countries. Poonawala is now one of the richest families in India and has more than $ 500 million in assets.
"We feel like we are providing solutions to our country and the world"
Inside the facility, scientists are wearing large stainless steel vats with coronavirus vaccine candidates and white hoods where the vaccine's cellular material is being manufactured. They are also monitoring the violet signal of bioreactors. Santosh Narvade, a scientist at Serum, says, "These cells are very fragile. We have to take care of them with oxygen level and speed mixing, otherwise these cells will break." He said "We all feel as if we are giving solutions to our country and our world."
Technicians driving one of the high-speed vaccine assemblies at the Serum Institute in early July.
Consideration of creating 30 million doses of stock for commercial use by November
The Oxford-produced vaccine showed that it activates antibodies just like patients in the recovering Covid 19. Serum has already prepared millions of doses of this vaccine for research and development. By the time the trials are completed by November, Serum is in the process of preparing 300 million doses of stock for commercial use.
What if the vaccine failed?
Even if this vaccine is unsuccessful, the Serum Institute will be helpful. Serum has joined hands with another vaccine designer to manufacture four other vaccines in the early stages of development. However, they are not being produced yet. If all of them fail, Poonawala says that they will soon put their assembly lines into production of another effective vaccine. He said "very few people can produce at this price, this scale and so fast".
Poonawala is spending $ 450 million to make the Oxford vaccine
Under the AstraZeneca deal, Serum can make 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine for India and middle and low income countries. Apart from this, such a price can be charged which is not more than its production. After the epidemic, Poonawala hopes that he will be able to sell the vaccine at a profit. During this, his biggest concern is cash. He estimates that he is spending around $ 450 million to produce the Oxford vaccine on a large scale.
During this time many of his expenses can never be met. Such as the chemical used in vials and processes to hold the vaccine. Poonawala says that for the first time they are thinking of taking help of private equity funds.
The final process of the production process: placing the sealed vaccine in a cardboard box.
On the contrary, there are deals prepared under US President Donald Trump's Warp Speed Project and similar Europe plans. In order to secure millions of doses for their people, rich countries have already paid or promised to pay drug companies to remove risks from mass production of vaccines that may not work at all and are eventually thrown out. .
Doctor Olivier Wouters, a health policy professor at the London School of Economics, says this vaccine explains nationalism. He said "rich countries are going ahead in line and poor countries are at risk of being left behind". Analysts have said that Serum is likely to receive financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation or perhaps the Government of India. However, both have refused to react to it. Serum's work is production only, at least in the case of the Oxford vaccine.
German company technicians installing new high-speed vaccine assembly at Serum Company.
Revenue of the company increased after Adar became CEO
Ever since Adar Poonawala took over as CEO of Serum, the company has expanded into new markets. This has increased the company's revenue to over $ 800 million. Adar says his family is known to roam in a fancy car or jet rather than making a life-saving vaccine.
He said "Many people in India don't know what I do. They think hey you do something with horses and you are definitely making money." They feel that this is all going to change.
The Serum Institute is undergoing new construction. The company is investing extensively to make more vaccines.