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India administers more than 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines (21 October 2021)

In a historic achievement, on 21 October 2021, the cumulative COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in India has surpassed the 1 billion milestone.On this occasion, we also congratulate the Government of Brazil on its successful vaccination campaign and administering more than 262 million doses.

1. India’s Vaccination Drive:

On 16 January 2021, India began administration of COVID-19 vaccines to its people. From 21 June 2021,the Government of India is procuring vaccination for all States and Union Territories and is providing free Covid-19 vaccine to all Indian citizens above 18 years of age.India is currently using Serum Institute of India (SII)’s Covishield, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Sputnik V in its immunization program.

2. COVID-19 vaccine supply to other countries:

i.  As on 29 May 2021, India supplied more than 66 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 95 countries, including 4 million to Brazil in January-February 2021.Under ‘Quad (India, US, Japan, Australia) Vaccine Cooperation’, India plans to increase the production of Covid-19 vaccines by around 1 billion doses by the end of 2022.

ii.         India is a major contributor to the COVAX facility and has supplied about 20 million COVID-19 vaccines to the facility (as on 29 May 2021).In February 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus lauded India's supply of Covid-19 vaccine under COVAX facility. He thanked India & Prime Minister Narendra Modi for supporting vaccine equity. He added that India’s commitment to COVAX and sharing COVID-19 vaccine doses is helping 60 countries start vaccinating their health workers and other priority groups. He hoped other countries will follow India’s example. Appreciating India’s efforts, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, in February 2021, said that “Indeed, India has been a global leader in pandemic response efforts having provided critical medicines, diagnostic kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment to more than 150 countries. Efforts by India in developing and manufacturing one of the two vaccines currently granted Emergency Use Listing by the World Health Organization bring a much-needed supply to the global vaccine market. I also appreciate India’s continued efforts to support and strengthen the COVAX Facility to ensure more equitable access.”

3. Major Indian vaccine producers:India is home to world’s major vaccine producers. The details are as follows:

A. Serum Institute of India (SII)(Covishield):The Serum Institute of India (SII) is the world's largest vaccine manufacturer by volume of doses produced and sold globally. SII makes vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, measles, mumps and rubella, and ships out more than 1.6 billion vaccine doses annually at affordable prices.It is estimated that about 65% of the children in the world receive at least one vaccine manufactured by SII. Its vaccines are used in around 170 countries for national immunization programs, saving millions of lives throughout the world.The SII is scaling up its total vaccine manufacturing capacity from 1.6 billion doses per year currently to over 2.3 billion doses of vaccines annually. SII is ramping up the production of COVID-19 vaccines to 100 million a month by August 2021.More than 885 million Covishield doses administered as of 21 October 2021.

B. Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL)(COVAXIN):BBIL has a portfolio of 15 vaccines and exports to 123 countries. The company also owns 145 patents and produces hepatitis B, rotavirus and typhoid vaccines, and is developing vaccines for viral diseases like chikungunya and Zika.COVAXIN, India's indigenous COVID-19 vaccine by Bharat Biotech is developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) - National Institute of Virology (NIV).Bharat Biotech is reportedly planning to scale up the production capacity of Covaxin to 1 billion doses per annum by the fourth quarter of 2021.More than 114 million COVAXIN doses administered as of 21 October 2021.

C.Zydus-Cadila(ZyCoV-D): It is a plasmid DNA vaccine and is developed by Zydus-Cadila. In April 2021, production of the ZyCoV-D vaccine was started and Zydus-Cadila has a yearly production capacity of 240 million doses. On 20 August 2021, India's drug regulator granted emergency use approval for Zydus Cadila's COVID-19 vaccine, the world's first DNA shot against the coronavirus, in adults and children aged 12 years and above.

D. Other major vaccine producers in India are Panacea Biotec, Sanofi Shantha Biotechnics, Biological E, and Hester Biosciences.

E. Other COVID-19 vaccine candidates in India:

  • Sputnik V: The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is marketing the vaccine, has signed deals to produce more than 750 million doses of the vaccine with six more Indian vaccine makers.
  • Biological E’s novel Covid-19 vaccine: Hyderabad-based Biological E will produce the vaccine developed by US firm Johnson & Johnson. Biological E has a potential overall manufacturing capacity of over 1 billion doses per annum if required.
  • BBV154 - Intranasal vaccine: BBV154 is an intranasal vaccine is being developed by Bharat Biotech.It stimulates a broad immune response – neutralizing IgG, mucosal IgA, and T cell responses.  Immune responses at the site of infection (in the nasal mucosa) – essential for blocking both infection and transmission of COVID-19. Phase I Human Clinical Trial is ongoing.
  • COVOVAX: The US pharmaceutical firm Novavax signed a deal with the SII to produce 2 billion doses of the vaccine. Phase 2/3 Human Clinical Trial is ongoing.
  • HGCO19: India's first mRNA vaccine is being made by Pune-based Genova in collaboration with Seattle-based HDT Biotech Corporation, using bits of genetic code to cause an immune response. Phase I/II Human Clinical Trial is ongoing.

4. India: Pharmacy of the World:

i.   India is the largest provider of generic drugs globally. Indian pharmaceutical sector supplies over 50% of global demand for various vaccines, 40% of generic demand in the US and 25% of all medicine in the UK. Globally, India ranks 3rdin terms of pharmaceutical production by volume and 14thby value. The domestic pharmaceutical industry includes a network of 3,000 drug companies and about 10,500 manufacturing units.

ii.  India enjoys an important position in the global pharmaceuticals sector. The country also has a large pool of scientists and engineers with a potential to steer the industry ahead to greater heights. Presently, over 80% of the antiretroviral drugs used globally to combat AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) are supplied by Indian pharmaceutical firms.

iii.  The domestic market is expected to grow 3 times in the next decade. India’s domestic pharmaceutical market is estimated at US$ 42 billion in 2021 and likely to reach US$ 65 billion by 2024 and further expand to reach about US$ 120-130 billion by 2030.India's biotechnology industry comprising biopharmaceuticals, bio-services, bio-agriculture, bio-industry, and bioinformatics. The Indian biotechnology industry was valued at US$ 64 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach US$ 150 billion by 2025.India’s medical devices market stood at US$ 10.36 billion in FY20. The market is expected to increase at a CAGR of 37% from 2020 to 2025 to reach US$ 50 billion.

iv.  India’s drugs and pharmaceuticals exports stood at US$ 24.44 billion in Financial Year 2020-21. India is the 12thlargest exporter of medical goods in the world. The country’s pharmaceutical sector contributes 6.6% to the total merchandise exports.

v.   Indian Vaccine Production:India is a world leader in vaccine manufacturing and supplies 62% of global demand for vaccines.India has more than 12 major manufacturing facilities that manufacture vaccines for 150 countries around the world.India is a leader in the global supply of DPT, BCG & Measles vaccines.India is the world’s largest producer of recombinant Hepatitis B vaccine.

5. India-Brazil Pharmaceutical and Health Cooperation:

About 30% of all API used by the Brazilian pharmaceutical industry comes from India.Four out of five antiretroviral drugs Brazil buys through the PAHO Strategic Fund come from India.Several major Indian pharma companies are based in Brazil and are providing quality, affordable medicines. India and Brazil are also working bilaterally and multilaterally (under BRICS) to address health challenges, including through developing effective joint responses to the continuing spread of major diseases, especially Tuberculosis (TB).

6. Co-Win platform:

The Government of India created the Co-Win platform a tech-based platform facilitating the planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of Covid-19 vaccination in India.CoWIN is a scalable, inclusive, and open platform that serves the entire public health system. The platform is available for sharing as an Open Public Good and has been offered to other countries including Brazil for integrating in its own vaccine monitoring system.

Brasilia
21 October 2021

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