Global efforts for Covid vaccine continue; India hopes for the best

As the novel coronavirus continues to wreak havoc across the world, scientists and researchers across the world are making great strides in developing a vaccine to combat the spread of the highly infectious disease. Currently, there are more than 160 vaccine candidates in different stages of clinical trials and 32 vaccines have already reached the crucial human trials phase. With more than 22 million coronavirus cases across the world, a vaccine fit for human use remains our biggest hope in containing the novel coronavirus.

India, which reported more than 12 lakhs COVID-19 cases in the month of August is already developing two indigenous coronavirus vaccines, namely COVAXIN and ZyCoV-D.

As of now, the country is hopeful that the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University’s Jenner Insititute might the first coronavirus to be available for Indians by the end of 2020. The vaccine candidate backed by British-Swedish pharmaceutical AstraZeneca will be launched under the brand name COVISHIELD in India.

The British Pharma giant AstraZeneca has tied up with the Pune-based Serum Institute of India to produce a billion doses for low-income nations including India. The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) had already given the go-ahead to conduct Phase II/III trial of Oxford vaccine in India. The trials are being conducted in 17 selected sites across India on 1600 volunteers, including KEM and Nair Hospitals of Mumbai.

Given that Oxford’s COVID vaccine trials are already in advanced stages in India and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila’s Zycov D are only in the early phases of human trials, India is hopeful that Oxford’s vaccine could be the first COVID-19 shot given to Indians.

It should be noted that clinical trials of India’s locally produced vaccine ‘Covaxin’ and ‘Zycov D’ have been fast-tracked and both the vaccine candidates are looking to complete their human trials by the end of 2020. This would essentially mean that a homegrown coronavirus vaccine may be pushed out in public circulation by the first quarter of 2021, as per the Heath Minister of India.

He further stated that there a possibility that India’s first coronavirus vaccine ‘COVAXIN’ could be made available by the end of the year. Speaking to HT, Dr Harsh Vardhan also noted that since Serum Institute of India has already commenced the late-stage trials of Oxford’s vaccine, he was hopeful that India might get it by year-end.

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