Discussions underway to address the rising cases of monkeypox in India
The Serum Institute of India (SII) is currently engaged in talks with Danish firm Bavarian Nordic to import a small batch of vaccines to tackle the increasing number of monkeypox cases in the country. SII CEO Adar Poonawalla revealed in an interview with NDTV that the process of importing the vaccine may take two to three months, highlighting the urgent need to address the situation.
With only a few cases of monkeypox reported in India thus far, Poonawalla stated that SII would need to closely monitor the demand scenario for the vaccine before considering local development. However, to ensure the nation’s security, SII is prepared to import batches of the vaccine at its own cost, pending a commercial tie-up with Bavarian Nordic and availability of the vaccine.
Urgent Measures: SII in discussions with Bavarian Nordic to address the monkeypox crisis in India
Bavarian Nordic has already developed a vaccine against monkeypox, marketed under brand names such as Jynneos, Imvamune, or Imvanex. Poonawalla’s team is currently in discussions with the Danish company, with larger volumes of the vaccine subject to a decision based on true demand and necessity. While SII is ready to import initial batches, the government will need to determine the approach for larger volumes.
Poonawalla emphasized the importance of closely monitoring the situation and avoiding a knee-jerk reaction to order excessive doses. Collaboration with the government is crucial, as demonstrated in the past, and coordination remains essential. Manufacturing the vaccine locally would require considerable time and investment, making it more feasible to collaborate with an external entity.
Timely Response: Importing the monkeypox vaccine could take two to three months, says SII CEO
While SII assesses the need for a locally manufactured vaccine, they are prepared to import bulk supplies to address the monkeypox outbreak. Poonawalla noted that vaccination of the entire population is unnecessary, and a targeted approach in regions affected by the spread of the disease is more suitable. As a precautionary measure, SII is considering importing vaccine doses as a finished product over the next few months, should the country require it.
WHO Recognition: Monkeypox declared a global public health emergency, emphasizing the need for prompt action and preventive measures
Poonawalla urged the public not to panic but to remain vigilant and adhere to the guidelines set out by the World Health Organization (WHO). Monkeypox has been present for decades, and reducing its spread requires following recommended protocols.
Last week, the WHO declared monkeypox a global public health emergency of international concern. The virus can be transmitted from infected animals to humans through direct or indirect contact, including respiratory droplets and skin-to-skin contact.