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India exhibited capacity to innovate, manufacture Covid vaccines: WHO official

Serum Institute's Covishield vaccine is already in use in the country  (Bloomberg)Premium
Serum Institute's Covishield vaccine is already in use in the country (Bloomberg)

  • There is a huge amount of scope to study the impact of vaccines, which needs to be thought-through by a very coordinated approach, Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist of WHO said
  • Meanwhile, as many as 30 vaccines are at different stages of development in India

India has shown its capacity to be the global-scale manufacturer and also an innovator of the Covid-19 vaccine, chief scientist of the World Health Organization (WHO), Soumya Swaminathan said.

"India has shown the capacity to be a manufacturer at the global scale and also be an innovator when it came to vaccine development. There is a huge amount of scope to study the impact of vaccines, which needs to be thought-through by a very coordinated approach," she said while speaking at the Global Bio-India 2021.

As many as 30 vaccines are at different stages of development in India. Covaxin, developed indigenously by Biotech, and Covishield, developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca and being manufactured at Serum Institute of India, are already in use in the country.

The vaccine candidates of Zydus Cadila and Russia's Sputnik V are in phase 3 of the human clinical trials. Sputnik V, which is being manufactured by Reddy's Laboratories in India, has initiated the process for Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) with the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).

The three-day Global Bio-India 2021 was inaugurated Monday by Harsh Vardhan, the minister of Science & Technology, and Health & Family Welfare

Another official of the WHO has said it was "premature" and "unrealistic" to think the pandemic might be stopped by the end of the year, but that the recent arrival of effective vaccines could at least help dramatically reduce hospitalisations and death.

The world's singular focus right now should be to keep transmission of COVID-19 as low as possible, said Dr. Michael Ryan, director of WHO's emergencies programme, on Monday.

WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said immunizations provided by the U.N.-backed effort COVAX began this week in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, but lamented that this was happening only three months after countries such as Britain, the US and Canada began vaccinating their own populations.

"Countries are not in a race with each other," he said. "This is a common race against the virus. We are not asking countries to put their own people at risk. We are asking all countries to be part of a global effort to suppress the virus everywhere."

Meanwhile, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan in February said India is emerging as the 'COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing hub of the world'.

The Health Minister also noted the contribution of scientists and said, "Our scientists have done remarkably well, working round the clock to provide us with two vaccines which are being indigenously manufactured and have been approved for emergency use in India. The world's largest vaccine drive is underway in the country and is moving forward at a rapid pace with more than 1 crore doses administered already."

"In what is a remarkable endorsement of our spectacular talent and capabilities, India which is often referred to as the pharmacy of the world is now also emerging as the COVID19 vaccine manufacturing hub of the world," he added.

With inputs from PTI

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