The race to find a vaccine and cure for coronavirus has reached its zenith. Many companies and countries have made significant strides in the search for a vaccine for COVID-19. The search for a vaccine seems like a race against time as countries, including India, prepare to open up and relax restrictions that have been in place for at least a month. India is heading towards the end of its third phase of lockdown. The country has over 70,000 cases, with more than 46,000 active cases. More than 2,200 people have died in India, while 22,454 people have been discharged according to the Ministry of Home and Family Welfare.
Here's a lowdown on where India and the rest of the countries stand on their search for corona vaccine:
To begin with, Vijay Raghavan, principal scientific adviser to the Government of India told India TV that India is well on course to find a vaccine. He reiterated that finding a vaccine usually takes years and painstaking efforts. However he mentioned in the interview that if all goes well and the process is followed thoroughly, India is very likely to have a corona vaccine the next 8 months in its hands. He added that once it is developed, the COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed to the other parts of the world too. India is collaborating with other nations as well, he added.
Meanwhile, Bharat Biotech International Ltd (BBIL) along with the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) are working together to develop a coronavirus vaccine. A vaccine called CoroFlu is already being tested by the biotech firm. BBIL is working with the University of Wisconsin to develop the vaccine. ICMR also stated that it has transferred the virus strain isolated at NIV, Pune to BBIL.
According to reports, a researcher from Maharishi Dayanand University in Rohtak has stated that she has designed a vaccine, the '3CL Hydrolase-based Multi-Epitope Peptide Vaccine against SARS-CoV-2', at the Centre for Medical Biotechnology at MDU. "This is a protein-based vaccine which will strengthen our body's immunity by raising the generation of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. Utmost care has been taken to ensure that the epitopes used in the vaccine are non-toxic and non-allergic," researcher Dr Renu Jahkhar told The Tribune. Her research paper will be published by the Journal of Medical Virology.
Additionally, the Serum Institute of India said that it is planning to produce 6 crore of potential corona doses of the vaccine that is under clinical trial in the UK. University of Oxford is conducting trials for its vaccine.
World Health Organisation Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus informed a UN Economic and Social Council video briefing that there are currently seven or eight top candidates for coronavirus vaccine. He added that efforts are underway and is supported by $8 billion that was pledged a week ago by leaders from 40 countries. "We have good candidates now. The top ones are around seven, eight. But we have more than a hundred candidates," he said.
Meanwhile, Germany has pledged 750 million euros to help in the search of a COVID vaccine. The primary goal of the new funding, approved by Chancellor Angela Merkel, is to include as many volunteers as they can to test the coronavirus vaccine.
US-based Novavax has received $4 million from Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to identify and manufacture coronavirus vaccine. In early April, Novavax had stated that it had identified a vaccine called NVX-CoV2373 that had already shown success in animal models. The subunit vaccine is injected into the body that creates antibodies to protect against COVID-19. Novavax plans to start Phase I of clinical trials in mid-May.
Additionally, Moderna RNA vaccine, Oxford University's vaccine, Pfizer's BNT162 vaccine, University of Pennsylvania and Inovio's vaccine as well as Sinovac's vaccine are in various stages of clinical trials.