News24LAST UPDATED: Nov. 19, 2020, 5:31 p.m.
NEW DELHI (DIVYA SAINI): Many of the COVID-19 vaccines are under development. India’s top vaccine scientist professor Gagandeep Kang says that the Pfizer vaccine, which is 90% effective, is “very unlikely to be a solution for India”. Because India does not have the cold storage capacity to be able to store and transport this vaccine at -70⁰ or -80⁰ Celsius temperatures and has a very limited shelf life.
If we talk about the Moderna vaccine, which is said to be 94.5% effective and only requires storage at -20⁰ Celsius has a shelf life of up to 30 days, its price is $37.50 per dose, which India can’t afford. “We cannot afford $37.50 a dose. India has never paid more than $3 per dose for any vaccine,” she said.
Kang, who is a professor at the Welcome Trust Research Laboratory at the Christian Medical College in Vellore, said that the overall picture of vaccine development in response to COVID-19 is “exciting proof that vaccines work and work better than we thought”. She added that “when a market like India comes calling, the price will come down if we buy a substantial amount”.
She said that it’s likely that Oxford vaccine could be the right one or the best one for India. This vaccine only requires storage in a temperature range from -2⁰ to -8⁰ Celsius which can be provided by an ordinary refrigerator and does not require a freezer.
Kang also spoke about coronavirus situation as winter sets-in. She said it’s perfectly clear that India’s first wave is declining but whether or not there will be second or subsequent waves depends very much on the behavior of people. The dry cold weather and failure of social distancing and not wearing mask could lead to a second wave. But it won't be as bad as of US and Europe.
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