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IND Beyond COVID: Serum Institute of India Develops New Vaccines for Malaria and Dengue 

IND Beyond COVID: Serum Institute of India Develops New Vaccines for Malaria and Dengue

The Serum Institute of India’s CEO announced that the company has enhanced its manufacturing capabilities to prepare for the launch of vaccines against diseases like malaria and dengue in the coming years. This was achieved by repurposing facilities previously used for COVID-19 vaccines. With the decrease in demand for COVID-19 vaccines, the company is now utilizing these facilities to manufacture its newer shots, which are expected to increase total production by two and a half billion doses.

Serum Institute is known for producing AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine under the brand name Covishield in India, as well as Novavax’s protein-based COVID shots. The company made a significant investment of $2 billion during the peak of the global health crisis to enhance its production capacity. Currently, Serum sells approximately 1.5 billion vaccine doses annually, with a total production capacity of up to 4 billion doses.

CEO Adar Poonawalla highlighted the importance of this increased capacity, stating that in the event of a future pandemic, India could be fully vaccinated within three to four months. The company is also in discussions with other countries and governments to utilize its facilities in the event of future outbreaks, although specific details were not disclosed.

Serum Institute has the capacity to manufacture 100 million doses of its malaria vaccine and has already produced 25 million doses ahead of its launch in the coming months. Despite advancements in healthcare, malaria remains a significant public health concern, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where it claims the lives of more than half a million people, mainly young children, annually.

Poonawalla emphasized that Serum Institute’s focus is on exporting its vaccines, including the malaria shot, to other countries rather than entering into technology transfer deals. The company is also conducting trials for a single-dose dengue vaccine, which is another mosquito-borne disease. This vaccine, developed based on research by the US National Institutes of Health, is currently in early- to mid-stage trials in India, with late-stage trials expected to be completed within the next three years.

While Serum Institute is making strides in dengue vaccine development, Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical already offers a dengue shot in countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Argentina, and Brazil, which are currently experiencing a shortage of vaccines. Other companies, including Indian Immunologicals, are also working on developing vaccines against dengue.

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