India sounds confident of COVID vaccine
New Delhi: As India races to bring a vaccine for Covid-19 by mid-August, the government on Sunday said that it is entering the human trial stage which “marks the beginning of the end”.
COVAXIN by Bharat Biotech and ZyCov-D vaccine by Zydus Cadila are India’s own efforts to bring a vaccine for this pandemic. Along with the two Indian efforts, the world over, 11 out of 140 vaccine candidates have entered the human trial phase.
It also said that six Indian companies are working on a vaccine for COVID-19.
Allaying speculations about India’s ability, the ministry of Science and Technology said, “In the past years, India has emerged as one of the significant vaccine manufacturing hubs. Indian manufacturers account for 60 per cent of vaccine supplies made to UNICEF.” It added that regardless of which nation comes up with the COVID vaccine, they will have to depend on India for its ability for mass production.
Stressing the crucial role India plays in the vaccine, the government cited how two key players have inked contract with India. Both — AAZD1222 developed by Jenner Institute of the University of Oxford and licensed to AstraZeneca; and The MRNA-1273 vaccine developed by Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute “inked an agreement with Indian manufacturers for production of the COVID vaccines”.
Talking about how Covaxin works, the ministry in a press statement explained, “The Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN uses the virus isolated from an Indian patient by the National Institute of Virology to develop the inactivated virus vaccine.”
Earlier on July 2, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) head Dr Balram Bhargava wrote to 12 trial sites for the Covid-19 vaccine candidate, Covaxin, stating that all clinical trials need to be completed by August 15.