Serum Institute of India to apply for emergency use of COVID-19 vaccine in 2 weeks

NEW DELHI, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- India's vaccine maker Serum Institute of India (SII) Saturday said it will apply within two weeks for the emergency use of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The announcement was made by SII chief Adar Poonawalla after a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"We are in process of applying for emergency licensing in the next two weeks. We will have to wait and see when we get the authorization," said Poonawalla during a virtual press conference minutes after Modi's visit to SII's facility in Pune.

SII has partnered with global pharma giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University for manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccine -- COVISHIELD.

Poonawalla said India would be purchasing 300-400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from SII.

"As of now, we don't have anything in writing with the government of India on how many doses they will purchase but the indication is that it would be 300-400 million doses by July 2021," he told reporters.

Poonawalla said SII was currently producing 50-60 million doses per month and plans to scale up to 100 million doses by January next year.

Modi Saturday visited India's three top vaccine hubs to personally review the development of COVID-19 vaccine and the manufacturing process.

At present, five COVID-19 vaccine candidates are in advanced stages of development in India.

India's federal Health Minister Harsh Vardhan last month said the COVID-19 vaccine would likely be available in India by early next year.

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