India may have a COVID-19 vaccine by the 'start of next year', says Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan
- Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan today said that the coronavirus vaccine will be made available in the country by the start of next year.
- The government on Wednesday said they are supporting over 30
COVID-19 vaccinecandidates. Three of them are in advanced stages of trials now, while four are in the advanced pre-clinical development stage.
- Two indigenous vaccines by Zydus Cadila and Bharat Biotech have completed phase 1.
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan today said that the coronavirus vaccine will be made available in the country by the start of next year.
"Just like other countries, India is also making efforts. Three vaccine candidates are in different phases. Under Prime Minister's guidance, an expert group is looking at it and there is advanced planning in place. We are hopeful that by the start of next year a vaccine will be available in India," Harsh Vardhan said in Rajya Sabha.
This comes as India’s active coronavirus cases reach a million mark after the country added over 97,000 COVID-19 infections in a single day.
The government on Wednesday said more than 30 vaccine candidates for coronavirus have been supported, and three of them are in advance stages of trials now, while four are in the advanced pre-clinical development stage.
Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai also told the Rajya Sabha that 13 clinical trials of repurposed drugs have been undertaken to build a portfolio of therapeutic options for COVID-19 patients.
Two indigenous vaccines by Zydus Cadila and Bharat Biotech have completed phase 1. Serum Institute of India (SII) has again commenced the trials after getting clearance from the Drug Controller General of India.
India is the manufacturing partner of the vaccine candidate named Covishield, developed jointly by the University of Oxford's Jenner Institute's and AstraZeneca. The Pune-based firm, SII, i s looking after the trials at 17 trial sites across India.
Besides this, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Limited, a global pharmaceutical company headquartered out of India, have agreed to cooperate on clinical trials and distribution of the Sputnik V vaccine in India.
While the update on COVID-19 vaccines comes as a relief, there are still concerns over its affordability.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday said India should be well placed to get the vaccine at an "affordable price" and at an "early stage" through a mechanism like pooled procurement. However, the government should be "over-cautious" about the quality, safety and efficacy of a new vaccine as any long term side effects would impact India which has a large and young population, he said.
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