Reports circulating online claim that India’s vaccine manufacturer, the Serum Institute of India (SII), has confirmed the availability of its ‘Covishield’ COVID-19 vaccine in 73 days. The claim has been published by news websites such as India Today, Business Today, You News, North East Now and LatestLY.
Trials are currently underway for a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University in partnership with Swedish-British drugs producer AstraZeneca. According to Oxford University, the vaccine is in phase 3, which is meant to prove that the vaccine will prevent people from the virus.
Information on the SII website indicates that the institute, on July 31, got an approval to start human trials of the vaccine in India. SII CEO Adar Poonawalla in a tweet, said that he hopes to get positive results from the phase 3 trials.
Congratulations to the teams at @UniofOxford and @AstraZeneca for getting this product data, out. It all seems to be doing well. Hope to get positive results in the phase three trials in a few months. We also hope to start phase three trials in India soon. #COVID19vaccine https://t.co/Zroalob7mO
— Adar Poonawalla (@adarpoonawalla) July 21, 2020
SII on August 23 issued a statement disputing claims that it had announced the availability of the ‘Covishield’ vaccine.
The statement published on the institution’s Facebook and Twitter accounts termed the claims as misleading since the vaccine is currently under trials.
“Presently, the government has granted us permission to only manufacture the vaccine and stockpile it for future use,” reads SII’s Facebook statement.
“COVISHIELD will be commercialised once the trials are proven successful and all the requisite regulatory approvals are in place,” the statement adds.
We would like to clarify that the current media claim on COVISHIELD's availability in 73 days is misleading.
Phase-3 trials are still underway. We will officially confirm it’s availability.
— SerumInstituteIndia (@SerumInstIndia) August 23, 2020
Claims that the Covishield vaccine will be available for use in 73 days are FALSE.