Serum Institute Founder Cyrus Poonawalla to Keep Some Vaccine Aside For Parsis

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This post is written by Aanchal Chaurasia. She is a 4th year Law student pursuing the 5th year of B.L.S./LL.B. from Rizvi Law College in Mumbai University.

Serum Institute of India  (SII) founder Cyrus Poonawalla has agreed to set aside 60,000 doses of the yet to be developed COVID 19 vaccine for fellow Parsis, according to a community newsletter.

The newsletter, Parsi Junction, reported that Poonawalla acceded to the request of former Bombay Parsi Panchayat (BBP) chairman Dinshaw Rusi Mehta, who asked for reserving at least 60,000 vials for the Parsi community in the first batch.

“We are a micro minority and every Parsi is required to be saved and healthy. At present, we are only 60,000 in numbers and 40 Parsis have died of COVID, ” Mehta said in a WhatsApp message to Poonawalla.

A text message sent by ET to Adar Poonawalla (CEO of SII) did not elicit a response. An SII official said perhaps the comment was made in passing and it was too early to talk of such things.

Poonawalla’s son and SII CEO Adar too took to twitter to say that ‘more than enough’ doses will be kept for the community. Responding to a tweet from media entrepreneur Ronnie Screwvala, the younger Poonawalla said: “Our production capacity of just one day will be enough to cover every Parsi on the planet…given the size of our community.”

SII has partnered with AstraZeneca for manufacturing the Oxford vaccine candidate for Covid-19. In an interview with ET last week, Adar Poonawalla had said his company, subject to regulatory approvals, planned to initially manufacture 70 million doses per month and then ramp this up to 100 million doses.

As Phase 1 of the clinical trial has been done and Phase 2 and 3 are being done in Austria, Poonawalla said that the testing parameters of the vaccine are underway and will be released soon and the vaccine will be ready by December this year.

“We have come at a stage, where chances of failure look remote. We are spending more than $100 million on this facility. If we get the approvals and trials are completed successfully for safety and efficacy then lots of companies will manufacture the vaccine,” Poonawalla said.

 

Serum Institute of India, which is manufacturing the coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, will keep aside 60,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for Parsis. Serum Institute founder Cyrus Poonawalla, who is himself a Parsi has decided to set aside the doses of the under-trial vaccine.

Newspaper — Parsi Junction reported that Poonawalla acceded to the request of former Bombay Parsi Panchayat Chairman Dinishaw Rusi Mehta who had requested Poonawalla to set aside some vaccine for their community.  “We are a micro minority and every Parsi is required to be saved and healthy… At present, we are only 60,000 in numbers and 40 Parsis have died of COVID-19,” Mehta reportedly said in a WhatsApp message to Poonawalla.

Covishield has had encouraging initial results published that have given the world a glimmer of hope. The vaccine is currently having third phase trials being conducted in several parts of the world.

The Serum Institute of India is producing over a billion doses of vaccine that will be used, when the time comes, in India and other middle and lower-income countries.

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