Eighteen pharma companies, 14 vaccines, hundreds of nations, billions of people and millions of doses. This is the side story that has emerged out of a pandemic that has killed millions globally, crippled economies, forced the world indoors temporarily and changed the way humans go about their daily lives. The COVID-19 scourge that hit the world around 2019 has by now spawned businesses worth billions of dollars, with the hunt for effective vaccines bringing together governments, companies and the medical fraternity.
UNICEF data shows that the price range for COVID-19 vaccine varies between US$ 2.06 to US$ 44. Governments across the world are paying, as well as negotiating, the prices for the same vaccine, some ready to pay a high price too to ensure a steady supply for their citizens.
ALSO READ: A Pandemic And A Plague
Vaccine manufacturing across the world started around December 2020 and, according to Airfinity Limited, a London-based real-time life science intelligence service, by March 5 this year, pharma companies had produced 413 million doses. Out of these, the major vaccine producing countries are China (141 million), the US (103 million), Germany/Belgium (70 million) and India (42 million). China is producing thrice and the US is producing twice the number of vaccines that India is currently manufacturing.
In such a scenario, can India emerge as a global leader for Covid vaccines?
“Sixty per cent of (all types of) vaccine production takes place in India. All major global pharma players are collaborating with us whether it is AstraZeneca with Serum Institute or Johnson and Johnson with Biological E Ltd,” says Sudarshan Jain, secretary general of the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) and chairperson for...