COVID-19 vaccine in India by early next year? Health minister is hopeful2 min read . Updated: 17 Sep 2020, 03:05 PM IST
- The COVID-19 vaccine will be first made available to those who need it the most, said health minister
- Three COVID-19 vaccine candidates are at different stages of clinical trials in the country
Over six months into a global pandemic, the search for an "safe and effective" vaccine against novel coronavirus is still on. When will India have a vaccine against COVID-19? Answering to this question, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said that COVID-19 vaccine may be available in India by first half of 2021.
COVID-19 vaccine candidates in India:
Three vaccine candidates are at different stages of clinical trial in the country. Developed by Bharat Biotech International Limited along with Indian Council of Medical Research and National Institute of Virology, Covaxin was India's first indigenous vaccine candidate against the novel COVID-19. Covaxin is currently in Phase II human trials in the country.
"There had been 'no side effects' in the phase I trial of Covaxin," Dr E Venkata Rao, principal investigator of the trial at Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital, faculty of medical sciences, said.
ZyCoV-D, developed by Zydus Cadila began its phase II clinical trials from August 6. "The company reports that the doses of the vaccine administered to healthy volunteers in the phase I clinical trial, which began on July 15, 2020, has been well tolerated," Cadila Healthcare said.
Pune based drugmaker Serum Institute of India recently commenced the advance clinical trial of vaccine made by the University of Oxford in the country. The vaccine maker selected 17 sites across the country for the trial. Around 1,600 people between the age of 18 and 25 will be enrolled for the clinical trial.
Russian Direct Investment Fund inked a deal with Dr. Reddy's Laboratories to conduct a clinical trial and distribution of Sputnik V in India. Under the agreement, Russia's sovereign wealth fund will supply 100 million doses of Russia's COVID-19 vaccine to Indian drug maker.
Who will get COVID-19 vaccine first?
The COVID-19 vaccine will be first made available to those who need it the most, irrespective of their paying capacity, the health minister reiterated. The central government has been considering emergency authorization of COVID-19 vaccination especially in the case of senior citizens and people working in high-risk settings, Harsh Vardhan said.
To allay fears regarding the safety aspect of the vaccines, he earlier said, "I shall be the first to offer myself for receiving COVID vaccine, if people have a trust deficit."
"We are not lagging behind anyone else in the whole world in our efforts to contribute towards the vaccine against COVID... In India we have about 7-8 vaccine candidates, three of them in the clinical trial phases and rest in the pre- clinical trials," Vardhan said earlier.