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Serum Institute of India has received nod to start Phase II and II human clinical trials of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine in India (Reuters)
Serum Institute of India has received nod to start Phase II and II human clinical trials of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine in India (Reuters)

India's COVID-19 vaccine: When will mass production start and who will get it first?

  • At present, two vaccine candidates are at phase I and II clinical human trials in India
  • Not one, not two, as many as three coronavirus vaccines are being tested in India, PM Modi said while addressing the nation on Independence Day

With the coronavirus cases continue to rise in the country, the scientists and researchers are leaving no stone unturned to develop a vaccine. There are over 150 vaccine candidates at different stages of trial across the world. India has been working on three COVID-19 vaccines to fight against the virus. "Not one, not two, as many as three coronavirus vaccines are being tested in India," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said during his speech on 74th Independence Day.

At present, two vaccine candidates are at phase I and II clinical human trials in India. India's first COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin has been developed by Bharat BioTech, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology (NIV). Another vaccine was developed by Zydus Cadila.

Meanwhile, Serum Institute of India has received nod to start Phase II and III human clinical trials of vaccine candidate developed by University of Oxford and AstraZeneca in India. British Swedish firm has partnered with SII to manufacture vaccine for India and low and middle income country.

When will we have a COVID-19 vaccine?

Whenever there is talk of COVID-19 vaccine, the question that comes to everyone's mind — when will a vaccine be ready? Answering to this question, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said, "When scientists will give us the green signal, it will be produced on a mass scale and all preparations have been made for it."

"I want to tell people, the talent of our scientists is like that of 'rishi munis' and they are working very hard in laboratories," Modi added while addressing the nation on Independence Day.

Who will get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that India has prepared a roadmap to "ensure that a COVID-19 vaccine reaches everyone in the shortest possible time."

Scientists are working hard on coronavirus vaccine and if their efforts bear fruit, COVID-19 warriors will be the first ones to get the dose, Union minister of state for Health Ashwini Kumar Choubey said on Saturday.

"Our scientists are working very hard on it. Three vaccines against COVID-19 are in various stages of testing. And, if we do succeed in getting a vaccine, our COVID warriors will be the first one to receive the dose," Choubey added.

What will be the price of the vaccine?

SII earlier said Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will provide at-risk funding of $150 million to manufacture 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for India and low-and-middle income countries. Under this agreement, Pune-based firm can charge a maximum of $3 per dose for the two COVID-19 vaccines.

Asked about the pricing of Oxfords's COVID-19 vaccine in India, Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive officer of Serum Institute of India, said last month, "It is too early to comment on the vaccine’s price. However, we will keep it under 1,000 per dose."

He further added it is extremely likely that the COVID-19 vaccine would require two or more doses, like in the case of antidotes for measles and other diseases, according to a report in PTI.

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