“Tell China to accept our booster,” Adar Poonawalla told NDTV



The Serum Institute of India is working to launch two of its main Covid vaccines – Covovax and Covishield – in the Chinese market, which is experiencing a resurgence of the pandemic. “It’s very important for the world to get back to supply chain and investment issues… (so) it’s good for the world that China is out of this,” SII chief Adar Poonawalla told NDTV in an exclusive interview today.

“We are trying to reach out to China and encourage them to put aside political differences, problems and fears and accept some Western vaccines as boosters,” he said.

Asked about China’s response, he said: “I think they are deciding which direction they want to go … I hope they will decide one way or the other soon.”

Indian health experts have linked the new outbreak in China to a cocktail of viruses. In an interview with NDTV last year, the Centre’s Covid team leader, N.K. Arora said, “In China, they have never been exposed to the virus before, and the vaccine they receive may be less effective. “Most of them received three or four doses.”

Mr. Poonawalla told NDTV that Covovax is proven and works well against Omicron. Its response is even two to three times higher than that of Covishield, one of the two vaccines introduced for the first time in India and many other countries.

According to Mr Poonawalla, the new vaccine will cost around Rs 200-300 and will soon be available on the Centre’s CoWin app.

SII, Poonawalla, said it has also submitted data on the malaria vaccine to the World Health Organization. He said the vaccine has been shown to be effective in more than 77% of cases and they plan to roll it out in Africa by the end of the year.

The world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, SII, is also working on a dengue vaccine that is in 2-3 clinical trials. A three-dose vaccine could be ready in two years, he added.

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