Not with out India: the worldwide pharmacy is getting ready for the vaccination race


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A person wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) removes vials of AstraZeneca’s COVISHIELD vaccine against coronavirus (COVID-19) from a visual inspection device in a laboratory at the Serum Institute of India in Pune


By Abhirup Roy, Euan Rocha and Krishna N. Das

PUNE, India / NEU-DELHI (Reuters) – India, the world’s largest vaccine maker, is preparing for the massive global lightning bolt designed to contain the coronavirus pandemic with its pharmaceutical industry and partners to free up capacity and invest without firm orders to accelerate.

India makes more than 60% of all vaccines sold worldwide, and while its $ 40 billion pharmaceutical sector is not yet involved in making the expensive vaccines Pfizer Inc (NYSE 🙂 and Modern (NASDAQ 🙂 Gunshots, the nation is going to play a vital role in immunizing much of the world.

Indian companies are expected to produce eight cheaper vaccines for COVID-19, including AstraZeneca’s (NASDAQ 🙂 Covishield, dubbed “Vaccine For The World” -coronavirus- astrazeneca / astrazeneca-says-covid-19-vaccine-for-the-world-can-be-90-effective-idINKBN2830HC “by its developers.

“Many vaccines are manufactured in countries around the world, but there is only one nation that has the manufacturing capacity to produce sufficient quantities to meet the demands of citizens in each country and that is India,” said India the Australian Ambassador to India, Barry O ‘. Farrell, after visiting vaccine manufacturing facilities in India with many other diplomats.

The Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine maker, has already stocked more than 50 million doses of the AstraZeneca shot, while awaiting approval from the UK and Indian authorities in the event of an emergency.

SII plans to produce a total of 400 million cans of Covishield by July and is setting up new production lines to take around one billion exposures annually.

The pharmaceutical packer Schott Kaisha is meanwhile increasing the production of vaccine bottles, and the DHL of Deutsche Post (OTC 🙂 is working on how the recordings can best be distributed in the country and around the world.

“Because of the large quantities from India and, of course, the affordable vaccines, there is no other country that is doing more to end the pandemic than India,” Adar Poonawalla, CEO of SII, told Reuters on the company’s sprawling campus in the western city of Pune . Here, automated machines fill and seal thousands of vials every hour with the AstraZeneca shot before they are placed in a huge cold room with high ceilings.

But much of India’s vaccine production could be for domestic use, at least initially.

With nearly 10 million infections, the second highest in the world after the US, the Indian government is likely to order a large portion of the vaccines for its 1.3 billion people.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not yet determined how much India will need, but his government has said that some vaccines could be approved in the next few weeks and that they are “obliged to work with all interested countries on vaccination efforts”.

Poonawalla said he expected to sell hundreds of millions of cans at home. Even if immediate local demand was met, nearly half of production would go overseas, the company said.

India’s Bharat Biotech, which has also applied for emergency clearance for its government-sponsored vaccine candidate, is in talks with more than 10 countries in South America, Asia and Eastern Europe to sell its product.

Russia has since signed contracts with Indian companies to make the country the manufacturing and export center for its Sputnik V vaccine, starting with more than 100 million doses per year.

Many companies in India’s vaccine supply chain are investing with no deals.

“We took a calculated risk,” said Rishad Dadachanji, a director at Schott Kaisha who is in talks with around 10 vaccine manufacturers at home and abroad.

By November, the company will increase its annual production capacity by 300 million to 1.5 billion vials.

Executives at rival companies SGD Pharma India and Piramal Glass said they would expand their manufacturing base or reallocate production lines to focus on vials.

SGD plans to expand its current capacity of 350 million glass vials by 100 million units, while Piramal says it can double its capacity for specialty vials within a month “to meet unforeseen demands”.

Syringes and cold storage

Others likely to benefit from an expected surge in demand include: the drug companies Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (NYSE :), Cadila Healthcare and Hetero; Logistics company FedEx (NYSE :); Specialist in cold chain storage, including Snowman Logistics and Hindustan Syringes & Medical Devices.

Hindustan Syringes says it will increase capacity 42% to 1 billion units by the first half of next year. Around 140 million syringes have already been shipped that deactivate themselves after a single use for the global vaccine distribution program COVAX.

However, since the Indian government has not yet signed contracts with vaccine suppliers, some subsidiary companies have not guessed what type of products to prepare for as specifications can vary from vaccine to vaccine.

Vial maker SGD managing director Sardar Akshay Singh warned that a last-minute rush to secure vaccines for India could hurt exports – much like officials blocked shipments of masks and disinfectants to the start of the pandemic to meet local demand.

“We’ve given the government a lot of information, but they haven’t yet come up with a plan,” said Sunil Nair, CEO of India’s largest cold chain operator, Snowman.

However, the company’s continued expansion will double its vaccine handling capacity to 200 million doses by March.

The company operates around 500 trucks with containers refrigerated by Carrier Global (NYSE :), has vendors on standby when more are needed, and its nationwide reach can deliver vaccines from the manufacturing facility to vaccination centers in a matter of hours.

SII, which also works with COVID vaccines with US biotech company Codagenix, Novavax (NASDAQ 🙂 and Austria’s Themis have cut production of recordings for other diseases and are preparing more cold rooms, buying more trucks and employing more workers.

For DHL, the world’s largest courier and logistics company, vaccine transport work in India has already started. It recently launched the Russian vaccine Sputnik V for studies and says it will play a crucial role in the export and distribution of vaccines within the country.

“The next 12 to 24 months will be very exciting and there will be a lot of capacity issues, but I think it’s a positive headache,” said RS Subramanian, Head of DHL Express India.

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