Considering the speed at which Indian companies are sprinting in the race to find a coronavirus vaccine, Bill Gates' estimation does not seem far from the mark. Bill Gates said that India is capable of not only producing a COVID vaccine for the country but also for the world. He added that the Indian pharma industry is doing "a lot of important things". "India has a lot of capacity there -- with the drug and vaccine companies that are huge suppliers to the entire world. You know, more vaccines are made in India than anywhere -- starting with Serum Institute, that's the largest," he said at a documentary 'COVID-19: India's War Against The Virus' that will soon be aired on Discovery Plus.
After Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadila, the green signal has been given for the trials of the BCG vaccine in Tamil Nadu. Moderna too, recently stated that the first phase of trials showed that the vaccine is safe. Moreover Oxford University and AstraZeneca are also likely to offer some positive results.
However, the question remains -- what happens after the coronavirus vaccine is developed? Some world leaders are already fighting to ensure there is no preferential treatment when it comes to availability of a COVID-19 vaccine. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for an equitable distribution of the eventual COVID vaccine.
"Vaccines save lives. That's why we're working here at home and with partners around the world to find one. And when we do, we must keep working together to make sure that people everywhere have access to it - because where you live should not determine whether you live," said Trudeau. South Korean President Moon Jae-in, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinder Ardern, South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa, Spanish President Pedro Sanchez are some of the other leaders who joined Trudeau to call on world leaders for equitable distribution of the coronavirus vaccine.
CORONAVIRUS VACCINE UPDATE
BCG vaccine: The Tamil Nadu government has said that ICMR's tuberculosis institute has started trials to study the efficacy of the BCG vaccine against coronavirus. ICMR sought the government's approval to study the efficacy of the Bacillus Calmette-Gurin (BCG) vaccine in senior citizens at its National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis (NIRT) at Chetpet. The trials have already started. The ICMR is aiming to study if the BCG vaccine could reduce mortality rate in COVID-19 patients.
Zydus Cadila: The pharma company has started trials of its coronavirus vaccine candidate. "The Adaptive Phase I/ II human clinical trials of its plasmid DNA vaccine, ZyCoV-D commenced today with the first human dosing. The Adaptive Phase I/II dose-escalation, multi-centric study will assess the safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of the vaccine," Zydus Cadilla said in a statement on Wednesday.
Moderna: The company has completed the first phase of its trials. The vaccine prompted production of coronavirus antibodies in the testers, preliminary findings state. Dr. Penny Heaton, chief executive of the Bill and Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute wrote in New England Journal of Medicine that the results are promising and support the continued development of the vaccine. "However, we must bear in mind the complexity of vaccine development and the work still to be done before COVID-19 vaccines are widely available," she said.
Oxford University-AstraZeneca: Positive news from the trials of the Oxford vaccine is likely to be out soon. The candidate is already in large-scale phase three trials. The developers of the vaccine said this month they were encouraged by the immune response they had seen in trials so far and were expecting to publish Phase 1 data by the end of July. A spokeswoman for Oxford University told Reuters that the team was awaiting confirmation from a scientific journal of a publication date and time for the data, but gave no further details.