The Serum Institute of India, the local maker of the AstraZeneca/Oxford coronavirus vaccine, says it expects the British and Indian governments to approve shots for emergency use within a few days.
“You will be hearing some good news from the UK very soon,” Serum’s Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla said on Monday, adding that approval from the Indian regulator would be likely to follow shortly.
“By January, we should have the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine licenced.”
The company has already made between 40 and 50 million doses of the vaccine and will be able to ramp up capacity to around 100 million a month by March when a new facility comes online, Poonawalla said.
India wants to deliver 600 million coronavirus shots in the next six-to-eight months starting in January.
The country’s drug regulator is also considering similar approvals for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and another developed by India’s Bharat Biotech.
Some Indian states on Monday began a trial run of COVID-19 vaccine delivery systems, with health authorities checking everything from technology platforms to storage infrastructure.
“The exercise is basically a mock drill for our healthcare workers on how to run the whole vaccination process and system,” Jaiprakash Shivahare, the commissioner for health in the western state of Gujarat, said.
“The cold chain infrastructure for distribution of the vaccine is also being tested as a part of the dry run.”
India has the second-highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world after the United States, and has recorded almost 148,000 deaths so far.
On Monday, the federal health ministry reported a daily increase of more than 20,000 infections, taking the country’s total so far to 10.2 million cases.