65% of the world's children get a Serum Institute vaccine, here's what they do

Last Updated 22 July 2020, 10:57 IST

Sixty-five per cent of kids across the globe receive one or the other vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India Pvt Ltd (SII).

Founded by Cyrus Poonawalla in 1966, the SII, popularly known as Serum Institute, has emerged as the world leader in vaccines. The company is now steered by Adar Poonawala, who is the CEO.

Today it is in news as the Covid-19 pandemic sweeps the world – as SII has partnered with biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to manufacture the experimental Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by University of Oxford.

SII makes more than 1.5 billion doses - which includes Polio vaccine as well as Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Hib, BCG, r-Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccines.

Vaccines manufactured by the Serum Institute are accredited by the WHO and are being used in around 170 countries across the globe in their national immunization programs, saving millions of lives throughout the world.

Set up in Pune with an aim to provide vaccines at affordable prices, several life-saving biologicals were manufactured at prices with the result that the country was made self-sufficient for Tetanus Anti-toxin and Anti-snake Venom serum, followed by DTP (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis) group of vaccines and then later on MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) group of vaccines.

“With a strong commitment towards global health, the institute’s objective has been proliferated by bringing down the prices of newer vaccines. Thereby, strengthening the capabilities of families and communities to improve child health in low- and middle-income families,” a SII spokesperson said.

The philanthropic philosophy of the company still not only exists but has been proliferated to bring down the prices of newer vaccines such as Hepatitis-B vaccine, Combination vaccine etc., so that not only Indians, but under-privileged children across the world are protected.

In September 2019, SII inaugurated its new multifunctional production facility for vaccines. With an investment of over Rs 3,000 crores so far, the plant operates state-of- the-art equipment and facilities for enhanced production quantity. Lending support to the Maharashtra Government it has partnered with Zipline to use a logistics network of autonomous delivery drones to help transform emergency medicine and critical care in one of India’s most populous and dynamic states.

In a bid to strengthen routine immunization and tackle the menace of Diarrhoea, it launched a new variant of its WHO prequalified rotavirus vaccine Rotasiil called Rotasiil– Liquid, the only ready to use Pentavalent vaccine with G9 strain.

“Serum Institute is known world over and it has carved a niche for itself,” says Dr Suhas Pingle, chairman, action committee, Indian Medical Association-Maharashtra.

(Published 22 July 2020, 10:46 IST)

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