Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) plans to start vaccine production outside India as it struggles to meet delivery commitments. The pharmaceutical company that makes the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will make an official announcement in the next few days.
Adar Poonawalla, CEO of SII, told the Times on Friday, “There will be an announcement in the next few days.” Poonawalla announced last week that the Serum Institute could increase its monthly vaccine production to 100 million doses by July this year, which is later than an earlier schedule from late May. Many states in India have run out of COVID-19 vaccines.
He hoped to increase the Serum Institute’s production capacity from 2.5 billion to 3 billion cans a year within six months, the Times reported, adding he flew to London before Britain banned travelers from India eight days ago.
Coronavirus cases and deaths have risen in India as the world’s second most populous country has reported more than 300,000 new infections daily for nine consecutive days and hit another world record of 386,452 on Friday.
The surge has created a public health crisis, forcing the government to seek oxygen, medicines, and other essentials from overseas. According to scientists advising the government, the country’s coronavirus cases could peak between May 3rd and 5th.
Some health experts said India became complacent with around 10,000 new cases a day and the novel coronavirus appeared to be under control. The authorities lifted the restrictions and allowed major festivals and political rallies to resume.