Covid-19 vaccines being produced in India are set to boost vaccine exports from the country. “With enquiries already pouring in, Covid vaccines being made in India will significantly increase the volume of vaccine exports,” R Uday Bhaskar, Director General, Pharmexcil, told BusinessLine on Wednesday.
India has permitted emergency use of Serum Institute’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for selective use to arrest the spread of the pandemic.
The Ministry of Healthhas also said that there are no restrictions on the export of Covid vaccines from India. According to Krishna M Ella, Chairman and MD, Bharat Biotech, 14 countries, including the US, have already shown interest in Covaxin.
The proven track record of India as a global vaccine supplier to Global Vaccine Alliance Gavi and other global agencies will be an added advantage for India when it comes to vaccine exports, said Bhaskar. Gavi has collaborated with Serum Institute and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to deliver up to an additional 100 million doses of vaccines, if proved effective, to low- and middle-income countries. This was a part of the Gavi-Covax Advance Market Commitment.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, has tied up with Dr Reddy’s to conduct clinical trials and distribution of Sputnik V vaccine in India. It has also inked pacts with Indian manufacturers to produce 30 crore doses. Of this, Hyderabad-based Hetero will produce 100 million doses of Sputnik V annually. “The likely increase in vaccine exports, going forward, will also push up pharma exports in general. We may close the current financial year with about $24 billion,” said Bhaskar. The full positive impact of Covid vaccine exports could be seen in 2021-22, he added.
Hyderabad has now become a hub of Covid vaccine production as well as export with nearly 1,000 million doses set to be manufactured by the city-based pharma companies.
Bharat Biotech aims to produce 700 million doses of Covaxin in three facilities in Hyderabad and one in Bengaluru.
It has delivered more than 4 billion doses of vaccines worldwide, with registrations in more than 116 countries from its Hyderabad plant. It already producesCovaxin and has 20 million doses ready.
Hetero will also manufacture Sputnik V in Hyderabad.