Ahmedabad-based pharma firm Cadila Healthcare plans to triple monthly production of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate to 30 million doses a month as it expects to get approval for its use very soon, the company’s managing director said on Monday.
The company has already started producing 10 million doses a month of the vaccine as it expects government approval for use to come through in a matter of days. Once cleared for emergency use, it will become India’s fourth vaccine to fight COVID-19. Russia’s Sputnik V was recently approved for use in the country as the third vaccine after Pune-based Serum Institute’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin amid an acute shortage of shots worldwide in the war against the coronavirus pandemic.
Cadila is looking to increase monthly production of its vaccine candidate ZyCoV-D to up to 30 million doses in four to five months, from 10 million now, its managing director, Sharvil Patel, said in text messages to Reuters.
"We still think we should be able to submit (the vaccine for emergency use authorisation) in May," Patel said on Monday.
The company also plans to use third-party manufacturers to ramp up production of the vaccine to meet the huge demand.
ZyCoV-D is a DNA plasmid vaccine, which uses a portion of the genetic code – DNA or RNA – in the virus to stimulate an immune response.
It is undergoing late-stage trials in nearly 30,000 adults after being found safe and immunogenic in earlier studies. It is meant to be given in three doses but Cadila is also doing trials on a two-dose regimen, Patel told journalists recently.
The government aims to make 2.67 billion doses of vaccines available this year as part of the accelerated inoculation drive kicked off on May 1 to cover the entire adult population in the country.