The World's Largest Vaccine Manufacturer Has a Troubling COVID Prediction
One manufacturer's CEO says it will take years for a vaccine to be available to everyone.
Many people are relying on a coronavirus vaccine to bring the world back to normal. But with most potential vaccines still in their testing stages, it's hard to know exactly when we can expect that sense of normalcy again. While widespread predictions, including a recent one from Anthony Fauci, MD, have people ready for a vaccine by the end of the year, that excitement may actually be premature. The CEO of the world's largest vaccine manufacturer has recently come out with a troubling prediction: A COVID vaccine won't be available for everyone around the world until 2024.
"It's going to take four to five years until everyone gets the vaccine on this planet," Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, told the Financial Times in a recent interview.
According to the Financial Times, the Serum Institute has partnered with five international pharmaceutical firms to develop a COVID vaccine, including United States based company Novavax and British-Swedish company AstraZeneca.
The institute has committed to producing one billion doses of the COVID vaccine, half of which has already been pledged to India. Unfortunately, Poonawalla predicts that that will not be enough. If the COVID vaccine is given in two doses, like the measles, he estimates that the world will actually need 15 billion doses of the vaccine. And seeing as no other vaccine producers have yet committed to making as many doses as the Serum Institute, it's not looking good from a global standpoint.
"I know the world wants to be optimistic on it…[but] I have not heard of anyone coming even close to that [level] right now," Poonawalla said.
Other medical experts have given the impression a COVID vaccine will be available much earlier, however. Francis Collins, MD, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), said in July that while it was a "stretch goal," having a vaccine distributed by the end of the year is what the U.S. is aiming for. And Fauci recently said that it was a "safe bet" that a vaccine would be approved by November or December. But that, of course, doesn't mean much for the rest of the world.
The Serum Institute is the largest vaccine manufacturer globally by volume, according to the Financial Times. The company produces 1.5 billion doses of vaccines for use in more than 170 countries every year for various infectious diseases such as polio, measles, and the flu.
The institute is set to produce COVID vaccine doses for 68 countries under its contract with AstraZeneca and to 92 countries under its contract with Novavax. And for more COVID developments, check out These Are the 4 Places People Went Before They Got COVID, Study Says.