India's Serum Institute plans to start vaccine production outside India - The Times
A worker from the Serum Institute of India pictured with vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The Serum Institute of India, which manufactures the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, is planning to start vaccine production in other countries as it struggles to meet supply commitments, its chief executive officer told The Times.
"There's going to be an announcement in the next few days," Adar Poonawalla was quoted as saying by the newspaper in an interview published on Friday.
Poonawalla said last week that the Serum Institute would be able to raise its monthly output to 100 million doses by July, later than a previous timeline of end-May. Several states in India have run out of vaccines against COVID-19.
He hoped to increase the Serum Institute's production capacity from 2.5 billion to 3 billion doses a year within six months, the Times reported, adding that he flew to London before Britain banned travellers from India eight days ago.
Coronavirus cases and deaths have surged in India as the world's second-most populous country has reported more than 300,000 new infections daily for nine consecutive days, hitting another global record of 386,452 on Friday.
The nation's coronavirus cases may peak between May 3-5, according to scientists advising the government.
India's first wave of the pandemic peaked in mid-September with 97,894 cases. The country is now reporting more than three times as many infections daily, taking the total number of cases to 18.8 million with 208,000 deaths.
The surge has led to a public health crisis and forced the government to seek oxygen, medicines and other essentials from abroad.
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