Adar Poonawalla's Serum Institute of India, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, will, according to reports, soon resume its supply of Covishield, the vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), under the Covax programme.
According to a recent report, the Union government has allowed the SII to export 5 million doses of Covishield under Covax, which is backed by the United Nations, to Nepal, Bangladesh, Tajikistan and Mozambique. Nepal was scheduled to receive the first batch, on November 24. The delivery has, however, been delayed.
"The first consignment from the main Pune facility was scheduled to leave for Nepal today. However, the delivery has been delayed by two-three days due to some reason. The exact date of the consignment dispatch is still awaited," news agency ANI quoted a Serum Institute officia as saying, on Monday.
In April this year, the Centre halted the export of Covid-19 vaccines as a severe second wave hit the country. However, with the second wave now under control, the supply to Covax was expected to restart soon.
Covishield is the Indian variant of Britain's Oxford University-AstraZeneca jab, and is manufactured by the SII under that name in India. Its is one of the two most widely-used jabs in the country, with the other being Covaxin, developed by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Limited. Covishield and Covaxin were the first two shots to receive emergency use authorisation (EUA) in India for the vaccination drive, which began on January 16.
Covax, meanwhile, stands for 'Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access.' It is co-led by Gavi, World Health Organization (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). The initiative enables access to coronavirus vaccines, tests, therapies for low-to-middle income countries.