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Covid-19 India Update: Raw material supply bottlenecks are unlikely to affect vaccine production, the Serum Institute says

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The Serum Institute manufactures the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine under the Covishield brand.

Coronavirus vaccine in India: According to a report in The Indian, the shortages in the supply of some of the raw materials needed to make COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to affect the production of cans at the Serum Institute of India in Pune Express. The report quoted people familiar with the problem as saying that the company had sufficient supplies to ensure it would continue to manufacture cans at current capacity for the next six months. The Serum Institute plays a key role in delivering Covid-19 vaccines not only to India but also to other countries around the world.

The company hopes these bottlenecks will be resolved in the next few months.

Recently, Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute, stated that US restrictions on exports of some items were affecting the increase in vaccine production. He added that he was focused on delivering the vaccine through the Covax facilities, but US restrictions would be a “serious limiting factor” on that. The institute has vaccine doses in stock, but the manufacturers still need filters and bags, among other things.

The Covax facility is a WHO-supported global platform that aims to adequately deliver coronavirus vaccines in all countries at affordable prices. The Serum Institute manufactures the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine under the Covishield brand and supplies it worldwide through Covax and its own agreements.

Poonawalla had said the institute had shipped 90 million doses to a whopping 51 nations in two months since receiving approval in January. However, the institute still does not produce in full. It currently produces 50 million cans per month, but plans to double production. Without a smooth flow of raw materials, however, the institute cannot increase production to 100 million cans per month. These raw materials are mainly sourced from New Zealand, Australia and the US, and while there have been no problems sourcing raw materials from Australia and New Zealand, some emergency laws in the US to curb the export of these items are causing a problem.

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Steven Gregory