India to become 2nd biggest coronavirus vaccine producer in the world

India is projected to become the second largest producer of Covid-19 vaccines in the world, providing them not only for its own population, but for other developing nations, analysts say.

The South Asian nation was producing around 60 percent of the world’s vaccines even before the Covid-19 pandemic, and the production capacities of Indian pharma manufacturers allow vaccines to be made at relatively low cost.

“India has been a manufacturing hub for vaccines… even before the pandemic, and should therefore be a strategic partner in the global inoculation against Covid-19,” according to a report published by JPMorgan analysts.

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India will become the world’s second biggest vaccine producer after the US, according to London-based multinational consultancy Deloitte. PS Easwaran, a partner at Deloitte India, expects the country to produce over 3.5 billion Covid-19 vaccines, with the US forecasted to produce four billion.

Seeking to meet the growing demand across the globe, Indian companies are reportedly ramping up production facilities.

“We are expanding our annualized capacities to deliver 700 million doses of our intramuscular Covaxin,” Indian firm Bharat Biotech, which developed a Covid-19 vaccine in cooperation with the state-owned Indian Council of Medical Research, told CNBC.

The Serum Institute of India (SII) is currently producing Covishield, which was co-developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. The institute makes 50 million doses of the vaccine every month, with plans to boost production to 100 million doses a month by next month, Reuters reported.

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Vaccines developed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund and US firm Johnson & Johnson are also produced by Indian pharm manufacturers.

“Even without successful vaccine development from their own pipelines, available capacity provides opportunity to partner as contract manufacturers with approved vaccine developers to meet supply needs particularly for India and other [emerging markets],” JPMorgan report said.

When it comes to meeting demand in developing countries, vaccines produced in India are cheaper and easier to transport in comparison with those produced in Europe and the US, according to K Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India.

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