Sajid Javid Pleased with Poonawalla’s £50-million ‘Booster Shot’ for Oxford

Vaccine maker Serum Institute of India (SII), led by Adar Poonawalla, has pledged 50 million pounds to the University of Oxford for setting up a research campus. File pic

From the dilemma over choosing the right vaccines to counter Omicron to the alarming rise in UK cases, a roundup of what’s making news at this time.

‘Fantastic news’: British Health Secretary Sajid Javid is obviously pleased over Adar Poonawalla’s decision to put in 50 million pounds to set up a research facility at Oxford to be named after the Serum Institute of India (SII) chief’s family. Javid called this “fantastic news”. The money will be used to establish the Poonawalla Vaccines Research Building, to be used by the Jenner Institute.

Betting on Pfizer and Moderna: Adar Poonawalla has expressed more faith in the vaccines developed by the Oxford centre than has the British government, which has ordered 120 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna for boosters down the line, rather than AstraZeneca. Vaccines similar to AstraZeneca’s vaccine such as Covaxin are also likely to have limited success against Omicron. That leaves India with the expensive option of Pfizer for a booster. Or, with the option of hoping for the best.

Omicron vs Covaxin: The AstraZeneca vaccine developed at the Jenner Institute in Oxford is not proving very effective at all against the Omicron mutation of the virus. A double dose of this vaccine is as bad as no vaccination at all before Omicron. AstraZeneca is the favoured vaccine widely used in India in the form of Covaxin. It’s everyone’s hope that Omicron does not prove serious and then spread.

Skyrocketing cases: Britain’s alarming rise in the number of cases being reported daily is certain to bring new daily gasps over the next few weeks, but not much longer. That’s because the recording system cannot count more than a million a day; the number is expected to be breached by New Year’s Day. Early next month all of Britain will be infected, if the present rate of rise continues. There’s no stopping Omicron; we can only see where it stops.

High Tide in job market: Tide, a business financial platform in the UK, has announced it will hire more than 600 tech professionals in India over the next five years. That represents about 60 per cent of the company’s hiring plans. India is the company’s first international market. The company will additionally hire more than 1,000 professionals for its Indian operations based in Hyderabad.

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