Like most countries, India too is contributing to the race to look for a coronavirus vaccine. The government said that 30 groups in the country are working to find a corona vaccine. Moreover, the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology has successfully isolated the virus from several isolates that would enable it to use the culture for coronavirus vaccine development.
CCMB COVID VACCINE RESEARCH
On Friday, the government said that the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) has established stable cultures of coronavirus from samples of patients. The fact that CCMB has successfully isolated the virus to culture it in the lab means that it would be able to work towards vaccine development and testing. "These cultures may also be helpful in the process of drug screening. Potential drugs can be tested against the virus in a test-tube for their efficacy," said the Ministry of Science and Technology.
CCMB Director, Dr Rakesh Mishra said that the centre is working on producing viruses in huge quantities so that it can be inactivated and used in vaccine development and antibody production. CCMB is also testing potential drugs with other partners such as Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) with this culture.
CORONA VACCINE RESEARCH IN INDIA
Chairman of Empowered Group I and Member of NITI Aayog, Dr VK Paul said that the Indian industry currently has around eight vaccine candidates, out of which four are relatively ahead. The national science laboratories are working on six COVID vaccine candidates, out of which the government is very hopeful about two to three.
Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, Professor K Vijay Raghavan said that usually developing a vaccine takes around 10-15 years but India is aiming to concoct one in a year's time. Dr Paul explained that parallel processing of candidates is taking place globally to cut costs and save time. "Vaccine normally takes 10-15 years to develop, and costs $200-300 million. Our effort now is to do this in 1 year. Hence, we need to do parallel processing. Instead of working on 1 COVID-19 vaccine, the world is working on 100 vaccines at the same time," said Professor Raghavan.
The advisor said that 30 groups including startups and academics are working on a coronavirus vaccine. "About 20 of them are keeping a good pace," he said.
India's coronavirus vaccine efforts are undertaken in three ways:
- Fully indigenous
- Collaboration with foreign players with India as the lead
- Collaboration with foreign players where others are the lead
CORONAVIRUS VACCINE RESEARCH GLOBALLY
Moderna, one of the leading researchers in the race for a vaccine has said that their vaccine candidate successfully produced antibodies in many subjects. The company is now moving to the next phase. Moderna is aiming to supply millions of doses per month this year, which it plans to increase to tens of millions a month in 2021.
Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline said that it plans to produce 1 billion doses of its corona vaccine adjuvant -- an ingredient that amplifies the potency of vaccines -- to support collaborations. "We believe that more than one vaccine will be needed to address this global pandemic and we are working with partners around the world to do so," said President of GSK Global Vaccines, Roger Connor.
Pfizer that is conducting clinical trials believes that a coronavirus vaccine could be ready by October. "If things go well, and the stars are aligned, we will have enough evidence of safety and efficacy so that we can... have a vaccine around the end of October," said Albert Bourla, head of the company.
Novavax said on Wednesday that it has acquired Praha Vaccines and its manufacturing facility in Czech Republic in order to meet the production goals for its COVID-19 vaccine NVX CoV2373. "This acquisition provides the vital assets required to produce more than 1 billion doses per year," Novavax President and CEO Stanley Erck said. The company is conducting clinical trials of its vaccine candidate. Novavax Inc is also buying a manufacturing plant from privately held Serum Institute of India.