Even the fierce global competition to develop coronavirus vaccine cannot take the spotlight off India, given its strength in the field.
The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine maker by number of doses produced and sold, announced on Sunday that it will start mass production of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and hopes to bring it to the market by October if human clinical trials are successful, according to The Economic Times. Additionally, the US recently disclosed that it is now working with India to develop vaccines to combat the global pandemic.
India’s progress and partnerships are understandable when the country’s vaccine manufacturing sector is examined. Though many have little knowledge of India’s vaccine production capacity, it is highly competitive and carries great potential by many measures.
For starters, India is known for its strength in scientific research for medicine development. The country is one of the world’s major manufacturers of generic drugs and vaccines.
High production and low prices in its vaccine manufacturing sector are two unique advantages that make the South Asian nation a good partner in vaccine research and development. Take the Serum Institute of India, one of the six Indian firms currently developing vaccines for the new coronavirus, as an example, the institute’s CEO recently told Business Today that it would sell its coronavirus vaccine at around 1,000 rupees ($13.20), an affordable price for most around the world. Even better, the vaccine maker currently produces 1.5 billion doses of other vaccines each year, supplying 20 vaccines to 165 countries and exporting some 80 percent of its total production.
Given the current severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, if trials are successful, subsequent production capacity will become a critical issue. India’s advantages in vaccine development and production mean it can at least rely on itself to meet the huge domestic demand, which cannot be met by any other country in the world in the short term.
We are glad to see India is accelerating coronavirus vaccine cooperation with different partners. Previously, some US politicians accused China of vaccine hoarding based on groundless conspiracy theories, but China has never had the intent to monopolize vaccine production or profit from it. As the whole world grapples with this public health crisis, the development of a vaccine is no longer a business matter but a humanitarian issue.
At this junction, we sincerely hope India can play a larger role in the global vaccine industrial chain by offering a boost to international cooperation.