Data shared with TOI by UK-based science information and analytics company Airfinity shows that as of January 12, Indian firms would be manufacturing more than 3.6 billion doses of six different vaccines this year, compared to 4.8 billion doses of 12 candidates estimated to be produced in the US.
However, at least some of the candidates that US firms have deals for are unlikely to be ready for market this year, indicating that the estimations for the country may dip later.
As per Airfinity’s analysis the world is estimated to produce more than 16 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine in 2021. China is estimated to produce 3.1 billion doses of five types of vaccines.
“The landscape is dynamic, and this is what data shows today. However, we expect some, if not many of the vaccine candidates to not be ready this year, which will significantly bring down the production forecast,” Airfinity CEO Rasmus Bech Hansen told TOI from London.
Dr Sanjiv Kumar, chairperson, Indian Academy of Public Health and Indian Alliance of Patients Group, said: “…Failure rates of vaccines at various phases of trial and after introduction is high. A study that reviewed vaccine projects from 1998-2009 found that a vaccine has a market entry probability of only 6% or one in sixteen. The major reasons for rejection are safety and efficacy. There are over 250 Covid-19 vaccines undergoing clinical trials. Pfizer and Sputnik V have shown efficacy to be 90+% while Covaxin, Covishield and AstraZeneca stand on 60+%.”
Hansen, while pointing out that many of the lower-income group countries will have to depend on global initiatives that vie to enable equitable distribution of vaccines, said: “Some countries like the US, we’ve seen both production capacity and supply orders, while in the EU, there are lot of supply orders, but not enough production capacity. So many EU countries are importing.”
India, on the other hand appears to have more deals than supply orders indicating that the firms will be exporting vaccines. Russia, Switzerland, South Korea, the UK, France, Japan, The Netherlands, Czech Republic are among the other countries that have deals to produce vaccines.
Hansen said there were some positives for those countries that do not have production capability given that some of the candidates are being developed by firms that have the experience and capability of scaling up, which would mean there would be no shortage of supply.
“We are expecting some candidates to have sufficient data for approvals by early March, and in some cases earlier than that. The forecast includes production of some of these vaccines too,” Hansen said.
Of the 3.6 billion doses to be produced in India, 1.3 billion are the Oxford-AstraZeneca candidate, which has been approved for vaccination in multiple countries, while 1 billion is that of Novavax, which is yet to get approvals.
Among the others, production forecast is for 700 million doses of Bharat Biotech’s candidate, 300 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V, and 250 million doses of J&J candidate. The other 100 million doses will be the candidate being developed by Zydus Cadila.