Adar Poonawalla’s Pitch for Pandemic Treaty at Davos, Says Might Have to Destroy Covid Jab Doses


Serum Institute of India (SII) chief executive officer Adar Poonawalla, in an interview to Shereen Bhan of CNBC-TV18, on Monday said he is advocating a global pandemic treaty, and has proposed that there should be a framework for leaders to work with.

Stressing that there is an “oversupply” of Covid-19 vaccines in the world, Poonawalla, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, exclusively told CNBC-TV18, “We might have to destroy 200 million doses of vaccines minimum as they are nearing expiry by August-September this year.”

He stressed that the Covid vaccination pace for children should pick up. Poonawalla, whose company has produced Covovax for children in the age group of 12 and 18 years, said the vaccine has picked up globally. “Have sold 80 million doses, and hope to sell another 100 million doses of Covovax in Europe… Hope to get USFDA approval for Covovax by June,” he said.

The SII has submitted research document related to Covovax for children from the age of 2 and 11 years to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).

He further said the company plans to launch a vaccine for cervical cancer this year by December. Moreover, the SII is coming up with inoculation for Malaria and 5-in-1 vaccine for Meningitis. “Starting clinical trials for a dengue vaccine,” he said. The SII is also planning to launch a 6-in-1 vaccine for children.

The SII recently received a CCI (Competition Commission of India) approval for Biocon-Biologics merger, and may raise a stake in it by a “couple of percentage points” in the near future.

On climate change and environment, Poonawalla said keeping in mind that green energy will be the final area of investment, Poonawalla Green Energy entity has been set up.

After making personal investments in mid-sized companies such as Wellness Forever and Mylabs, Poonawalla said, “Don’t like investing in large-scale businesses that can’t turn profitable.

Poonawalla had said last month that the SII will sell Covishield doses to hospitals and centres at a discounted rate of below Rs 600 plus tax, as the Central government had announced that the precautionary dose of Covid-19 can be administered to all those above the age of 18 who have completed nine months after the administration of the second dose.

The end user will have to pay the price as per the Cowin application, Poonawalla had said. The final price of the vaccine dose to the consumer will include hospital charges, among others.

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