Serum Institute, Bharat Biotech pledge to work jointly to rollout Covid-19 vaccines

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Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune | Updated: January 5, 2021 3:41:27 pm

Covid-19 vaccination dry run being conducted in Lucknow on Tuesday

Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla and Bharat Biotech managing director Dr Krishna Ella have in a joint statement Tuesday said that it was their combined intent to develop, manufacture and supply the COVID-19 vaccines for India and globally.

“Both companies respect the great work being carried out by each other and put behind us the miscommunication and misunderstanding caused during the past week. We are fully aware of the importance of vaccines for people and countries alike, we hereby communicate our joint pledge to provide global access for our COVID-19 vaccines,” Poonawalla and Dr Ella said in the statement.

On Monday, Dr Ella at a virtual conference had strongly lashed out against those who had criticised the accelerated emergency use authorisation (EUA) that was accorded to Covaxin – the company’s Covid 19 vaccine. He had told reporters that it was unfair to be at the receiving end of such backlash when they had taken up “200 per cent honest clinical trials”.

He had also, without naming anyone, criticised companies who had branded their vaccine like water. Here it may be recalled that Poonawalla had in a TV interview claimed that there were three vaccines Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca with proven efficacy and the rest were like ‘water’.

Dr Ella had also raised questions as to why no one was questioning the Oxford-AstraZeneca data. He had also said their data on Covaxin was published in at least five reputed journals. He had also firmly said that Covaxin was a vaccine and not a backup as suggested by some experts.

While queries to both firms remained unanswered, SII and Bharat Biotech issued a statement on Tuesday stating the more important task in front of them is saving the lives and livelihoods of populations in India and the world. “Vaccines are a global public health good and they have the power to save lives and accelerate the return to economic normalcy at the earliest,” the statement read.

“Now that two COVID-19 vaccines have been issued EUA in India, the focus is on manufacture, supply and distribution, such that populations that need it the most receive high quality, safe and efficacious vaccines. Both our companies are fully engaged in this activity and consider it our duty to the nation and the world at large to ensure a smooth rollout of vaccines. Each of our companies continue their COVID-19 vaccines development activities as planned,” Poonawalla and Dr Ella said.

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