Unable to cope with the growing demand for its Covid-19 jabs in India and abroad, the Serum Institute is reportedly planning to soon start the production of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in other countries as well.
Serum's Covishield is being widely used in both India and Bangladesh's mega inoculation drives. Bangladesh has inked a deal with Serum to buy 30 million doses of Covishield, but a recent surge in Covid cases in India has made the delivery of the remaining doses uncertain.
Serum's chief executive officer Adar Poonawalla revealed his plans to set up vaccine
production units outside India in an interview with The Times newspaper. "There's going to be an announcement in the next few days," he told the British daily.
Poonawalla hoped to increase the Serum Institute's production capacity from the existing 2.5 billion to 3 billion doses a year within six months, the newspaper reported.
India is currently witnessing a ferocious second wave of Covid-19. On Saturday, the country registered a record four lakh cases in a span of 24 hours, for the first time after reporting over three lakh daily infections for nine days in a row.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi rolled out the world's largest Covid vaccination drive on January 16. Covishield and local company Bharat Biotech's Covaxin are currently being given to citizens. However, several states in India have run out of Covid vaccines.