THD NewsDesk, New Delhi: The world lies in wait for a COVID-19 vaccine. Recently, Zydus Cadila Chairman Pankaj R Patel said that India requires funds between Rs 3,000-5,000 crore to generate extra amenities for creating vaccines in abundance as needed by the Indian population. He also added that the Vaccine is not the sole answer to the COVID-19 problem.
Patel said, “… If India has to produce and deliver 130 crore doses to Indian people in one year time, my opinion is that India would need to invest in manufacturing facilities to the extent of roughly Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 crore to create additional capacity to make it happen.”
Patel in a board discussion on ‘Race for COVID Vaccine: More than just a Cure’ at an AIMA event said, the developed vaccines are skillfully developed which would inflate the cost of the vaccines. Therefore it is a necessity to consider how the funding will be processed.
Stressing that the Vaccine will perform a crucial role in the control of the pandemic, Patel averred: “Vaccine alone in my opinion is not the solution to the problem. We need the Vaccine, and also we need more treatment protocols to make sure we are able to take care of it because I think the way the vaccine trials are designed currently globally there is not going to be a possibility of immunity in 100 per cent of people.”
He further added, “Moreover, the requirement of the vaccine doses is going to be very high. Given the fact almost all vaccines are going to work at least two doses, if we look at India’s population and decide to immunise 50 per cent of the population, we would require over 130 crore doses and that’s not the capacity anybody has. Even if people can produce, it cannot happen in one day. It can only happen over a long period.”
He claimed that there is another challenge which is “How long the immunity will last with this Vaccine? If the Vaccine is going to give a long-term immunity, it will be wonderful, but if it provides short-term immunity then we will have to keep on immunising people again and again.” Patel also said that a vaccine is necessary to regulate the rapid spread of this disease. He said that the Vaccine solely would not be enough to fight the pandemic. Other measures like social distancing, wearing masks quarantining and testing people remains equally important.
Patel informed that the strategy of the distribution system of the country should be very strong. As the number of doses concerned, he said: “There could be challenges of glass vials supply, though I don’t see challenges to supply of syringes.”
Funding will be a major obstacle in the fight against the pandemic. For vaccines to be widely available at a nominal rate, the companies have to take every step very thoughtfully.