On Monday, Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson said that vaccine company Serum Institute of India (SII) is ready to invest in Britain’s facilities, and in the future, it could also even manufacture vaccines in the United Kingdom.
According to Johnson’s Downing Street office, the £240 million ($334 million) project would include a sales office that stated, “clinical trials, research and development and possibly manufacturing of vaccines.”
By Volume, the SII is the largest vaccine maker in the world. It has been at the forefront of developing and producing the lower-cost AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine doses. The first phase trial of a one-dose nasal vaccine for Covid-19 has also been started in the UK by SII.
The plan of the vaccine maker was a part of a bigger package of £1 billion worth of investment and trade deals with India which is likely to generate over 6,500 jobs. The development was declared after a virtual discussion of Tuesday between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Johnson.
Since last year when Britain left the European Union, India has been leading the list of trade deal targets of London as India has a growing economy and huge population. But currently, the second wave of Covid-19 has taken the health infrastructure of India to the point of collapsing, which forced Johnson to set aside his visit to the country this month.
Before the new wave of the pandemic, India was exporting tens of millions of SII-developed AstraZeneca shots through the Covax scheme for supplying poorer nations. Last month, to prioritize vaccination inside the nation, India froze exports of vaccines including Covax.
On Sunday, Britain said that it was sending an extra 1,000 oxygen ventilators to India. Already it has sent 495 oxygen concentrators, 200 ventilators and 3 larger production units dubbed oxygen factories.