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World|health|December 22, 2020 / 11:05 AM
India may start vaccinating people against COVID-19 in January
A health worker collects a swab sample from a shopper for the COVID-19 testing at a makeshift testing booth at a market area in New Delhi on December 19, 2020, as India surged past 10 million coronavirus cases. Image Credit: AFP

AKIPRESS.COM - India may begin vaccinating people against COVID-19 in January and the government's first priority has been safety and efficacy of the vaccine, India’s Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said, Gulf News reported.

"I personally feel may be in January in any stage or any week, there can be a time when we can be in a position to give first COVID vaccine shot to people of India," the Minister told ANI in an exclusive interview.

He was asked about India's vaccination drive against coronavirus. The Minister said that the vaccines, including those who have applied for emergency use authorization are being analyzed by the regulator.

"India is not less than any country when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine and research. Our first priority has been the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.  We do not want any comprise on that. Our regulators are analyzing them with seriousness," he said. "Our scientists and health experts have worked on the development of a vaccine by genome sequencing and isolation of the coronavirus and developed an indigenous vaccine. In 6-7 months, we will have the capacity to inoculate about 300 million people," the Minister said while addressing the 22nd Group of Ministers (GoM) meeting on COVID-19.

The Minister said that India's COVID-19 pandemic growth has dropped to 2 per cent and the case fatality rate is amongst the lowest in the world at 1.45 per cent.

"India's Recovery Rate has peaked to 95.46 per cent, while the strategy of testing one million samples has decreased the Cumulative Positivity Rate to 6.25 per cent," he added. Despite festival session in October and November, no new surge of cases was observed in this period due to comprehensive testing, tracking and treatment policy implemented on the ground.

According to the India’s Health Ministry, there are nine COVID-19 vaccine candidates in different phases of clinical trials in India -- six are under clinical trials and three in pre-clinical phase. Vaccine candidates in different phases. 

Covishield vaccine candidate is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) in Pune. The vaccine has been developed by Astrazeneca in collaboration with Oxford University. The regulator had allowed the phase 2 and 3 clubbed clinical trials of the vaccine and they have applied for emergency use authorization.

Covaxin vaccine is being manufactured by Bharat Biotech International Ltd, Hyderabad in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and is in phase 3 trials. They have also applied for emergency use authorizations.

Another vaccine candidate ZyCoV-D is is being manufactured by Cadila Healthcare Ltd, Ahmedabad. Their collaborator is the Department of Biotechnology. It is in phase 3 trials.

The Russian vaccine (Sputnik V) is being manufactured by Dr Reddy's lab of Hyderabad in collaboration with Gamaleya National Centre, Russia and the vaccine is in the phase 3 trial.

The vaccine candidate NVX-CoV2373 is being developed by the Serum Institute of India, Pune in collaboration with Novavax. The phase 3 trial of this vaccine is under consideration in India.

A recombinant protein antigen-based vaccine candidate is being manufactured by Biological E Ltd, Hyderabad in collaboration with MIT, USA. Its phase I and II human clinical trials have started.

HGCO 19, which is an mRNA-based vaccine, is being manufactured by Genova, Pune. Their collaborator is HDT, USA. The pre-clinical animal studies are over for this vaccine. The phase 1 and 2 clinical trials will start for this vaccine in the near future.

Rabies vector platform vaccine is being manufactured by Bharat Biotech International Ltd, Hyderabad in collaboration with Thomas Jefferson University, USA. It is in the advanced pre-clinical trial stage.

Vesiculo Vax platform is manufactured by Aurobindo Pharma in collaboration with Aurovaccine (USA) and is in the pre-development stage. India also received requests for vaccines from 12 other countries.

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