By Nikhila Natarajan
New York, May 16 (IANS) Donald Trump hailed India’s “great scientists and researchers” working on speeding up a COVID-19 vaccine at a time when the world’s medical community is coming together in an unprecedented global effort to deliver a breakthrough drug against the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump’s remarks come at a time when a dozen vaccine candidates are in early testing stages worldwide and America hopes to go big and deliver a vaccine by year end.
India’s Pune-based Serum Institute, a family run firm which has partnered with Jenner Institute at Oxford University, expects a COVID-19 vaccine in the market by October if safety and efficacy are established. By September this year, Serum Institute plans to manufacture 40m-50m doses of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine created by Jenner.
Serum Institute of India is the world’s largest vaccine maker by number of doses produced and sold globally.
University of Oxford researchers have begun testing this COVID-19 vaccine in human volunteers in Oxford, late April.
Vaccine candidates from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Moderna Inc, and the one from Oxford University have been getting the maximum attention.
“We have no ego when it comes to this,” Trump said about global collaboration on vaccine development. “The last thing anybody is looking for is profit.”
“When a vaccine is ready, the US government will deploy every plane, truck and soldier required to help distribute it to the American people as quickly as possible,” Trump said in a Rose Garden event Friday.
The US administration is aiming to have 300 million doses to distribute to Americans by the end of the year.
According to the NIH, at least four or five possible vaccines “look pretty promising” and one or two will be ready to begin large-scale testing by July.
Trump’s remarks came a day after India’s prime minister spoke with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates via video conference about global coordination on scientific innovation to combat the pandemic.
America’s NIH is working with many of the world’s largest pharma companies to create an umbrella rubric called ACTIV – short for ‘Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines’ – so that every potential vaccine is tested using the same method.
Trump on Friday appointed Moncef Slaoui, a former GlaxoSmithKline executive, to lead the country’s ‘Operation Warp Speed’ project to ready a vaccine against COVID-19 by the end of the year.