Inside the Indian Serum Institute, at the center of Britain’s Covid vaccine supply Business

From his baronial conference room in Pune, Adar Poonawalla can admire the perfectly manicured turf of India’s largest stud farm. Over the years, the family’s racehorses have won the Indian Derby 10 times. These days, however, the thoroughbreds frolicking across the paddock under his window may be the last thing he thinks of.

Poonawalla is Managing Director of the Serum Institute of India (SII), now the world’s largest maker of Covid vaccines, which has been operating at full capacity to produce 50 million doses per month of the AstraZeneca / University of Oxford jab.

But the company found itself at the center of Britain’s first stumbling block in the race to vaccinate its people after doses of 5 million doses it was supposed to deliver in March, facing delays.

Since the New Year, nearly 25 million Britons have had the blow – but NHS England has warned the delay will lead to a slowdown in the pace of vaccinations in April.

Poonwalla told the Telegraph the Indian government was to blame, temporarily blocking exports as it decided how to deal with a resurgence in Covid infections: “It is solely dependent on India and it has nothing to do with it. to do with IBS, ”he said. “It has to do with the Indian government allowing more doses in the UK.”

The delay is yet another sign of so-called “vaccine nationalism,” where countries are accused of cornering supplies in order to inoculate their populations first. He follows the EU, where vaccinations go at a slow pace, threatening to ban vaccine exports to Britain – as well as member countries raising controversial concerns about the safety of the AstraZeneca jab.

Speaking in an interview with The telegraph in January, Poonawalla nodded to the divided loyalties of the vaccine makers between the governments that ordered doses and their own countries: “Everyone has worked tirelessly for months and national commitments and understand what my government [India] wants us to do. It’s a good balance.

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This notice was published: 2021-03-18 09:14:46