Amid concerns raised by four cases of monkeypox in the country, vaccine maker Adar Poonawalla has said that it is exploring the possibility of importing smallpox vaccines in bulk in case of emergency. He also said that the Serum Institute of India (SII) is in talks with Novavax to develop a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine for monkeypox. In addition, Poonawalla told NDTV that the Smallpox vaccine from the Danish company Bavarian Nordic could come to India in three months. Serum Institute can manufacture smallpox vaccines in bulk under license.
He said, “As a vaccine manufacturer with technical knowledge, we are talking to partners. We are talking to Novavax. We need to see if there will be much demand or if there will be more than three. It will be over in four months. In case of emergency, we can do complete finishing of the product made by that company which can reach Indians without the worry of safety issues. It will take some time to make it from the beginning.
He said that it is no secret that cases of monkeypox are coming. This has been happening for decades. The only difference was that the global health system was more trained and equipped to detect and combat infectious diseases. However, the monkeypox vaccine is different from the Covid-19 vaccine because different types of technology are used. The head of the Serum Institute said, “You need special containment facilities for that vaccine. We don’t have it in India at the moment. We are working with our partners.”