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Home / News / India /  Discussions on making Covid-19 vaccines available to people have begun: Govt

Amid the rising novel coronavirus cases in the country, the Indian government today said it has started discussions on the availability of Covid-19 vaccine to those who need it.

Speaking at the health ministry press conference today, Dr VK Pal, Member (Health), NITI Aayog said, "Discussions have already begun how will the vaccines be made available to all those who need it."

Pal also added that India's two most important Covid-19 vaccines are now in phase 1 and phase 2 of their trials.

The member of country's leading think tank also said government will leave no stone unturned to ensure people of India and international community have access to an Indian vaccine as early as possible. Every possible facilitation will be ensured making sure trials conducted scientifically and ethically and we arrive at an affordable option.

Earlier, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had permitted two vaccines; one developed by the Bharat Biotech International Limited and another one by ZydusCadila Healthcare Ltd to go in for the first and second phase of human clinical trials.

Bharat Biotech's vaccine candidate Covaxin, which is India's first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine, has started human trials. In phase I, the vaccine would be tested on 375 volunteers. Covaxin, which has been developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR and NIV, Pune, will be tested on more than 1,100 people in phase 1 and 2 clinical trials.

There are 12 places where the trial for Covaxin will take place as per the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR).

On Monday, AIIMS-Delhi began recruiting volunteers for conducting human clinical trials Covaxin, said Director Dr Randeep Guleria. The institute is among the 12 sites selected by ICMR for Phase I and II randomised, double-blind and placebo-controlled clinical trials of Covaxin.

Post-trials, the subjects will be followed up for 28 days and then again at a later stage, Professor at the Centre for Community Medicine at AIIMS Dr Sanjay Rai said. The minimum time required for Phase I trial results to come out is four-to-six weeks, he added.

Additionally, Pharma major Zydus Cadila has said that it is looking to complete clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate ZyCoV-D in seven months. The company had last week started clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate with the first human dosing. Depending on the study outcomes and if the data is encouraging and the vaccine is found to be effective during the trials, it could take a total of seven months for the trials to be completed and for the vaccine to be launched, Zydus Cadila Chairman Pankaj R Patel said in a statement.

Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute, Zydus Cadila, Panacea Biotec, Indian Immunologicals, Mynvax and Biological E are among the seven domestic pharma firms working on the coronavirus vaccines in India.

Apart from this, the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday said 19 states and union territories are performing more than 140 Covid-19 tests per day per million population.

"Number of Covid-19 deaths per million population in India continues to be among the lowest in the world," said Rajesh Bhushan, Officer on Special Duty, Health Ministry said during a briefing on the prevailing Covid-19 situation in the country.

Bhushan said aggressive testing is necessary to bring down Covid-19 positivity rate and that the aim is to maintain this level of testing so as to bring down positivity rate below 5%.

Meanwhile, India recorded 37,148 Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, pushing its tally to 11,55,191 , while the total number of recoveries increased to 7,24,577, according to Union health ministry data on Tuesday.

The death toll due to the disease rose to 28,084 with 587 fatalities reported in a day, the data updated at 8 am showed.

There are 4,02,529 active cases of the coronavirus infection currently in the country, while 7,24,577 people have recovered till now. Thus, 62.72% people have recovered so far, it said.

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