India, along with other countries, has also made significant strides in the search for a coronavirus vaccine. According to the government around 30 groups are working in the country to come up with a vaccine candidate. The national science laboratories have also rounded up six corona vaccine candidates that are making quite some progress. In fact, India is optimistic that a COVID-19 vaccine would be concocted in a year, instead of 10-15 years that is usually taken to find a vaccine.
Here is the latest update on India's coronavirus vaccine research:
Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology research: CCMB has successfully isolated the virus from several isolates. What this would enable the researchers at the CCMB to do is culture the virus and work towards vaccine development. The cultures would then be used in drug screening and can be tested against potential drugs in test tubes.
Serum Institute of India research: Pune-based SII is one of the leading contenders in the search for a corona vaccine. The largest vaccine producer is working with University of Oxford to find a safe and affordable COVID vaccine. Oxford is conducting clinical trials and SII is speeding up work to ensure that doses of the same are available as early as October.
Meanwhile, leading pharma company Novavax is buying SII's manufacturing plant and planning to produce a billion doses of its coronavirus vaccine by next year. The company would buy Czech Republic-based Praha Vaccines, a unit of India's Cyrus Poonawalla Group that owns Serum Institute for $167 million in cash.
ICMR research: ICMR and Bharat Biotech are working with Thomas Jefferson University of Philadelphia for a COVID-19 vaccine. "The virus strain isolated at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) laboratory in Pune will be used to develop the vaccine, and this strain has been successfully transferred to the Bharat Biotech International Ltd (BBIL). It is expected that the human trials of the vaccine will begin in at least six months," said Dr Rajni Kant, Director Regional Medical Research Centre and Head at ICMR.
Zydus Cadila research: The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) is currently testing a "repurposed" vaccine, Sepsivac by Zydus Cadila, which is in Phase 2 of the trial. It is looking to seek approval from the drug controller for wider use.
Patanjali Ayurveda that is known for its ayurvedic remedies has said that it has launched clinical trials for a cure for coronavirus cure after it received regulatory approvals. A political storm brew over the approval. Congress leader and former MP chief minister Digvijaya Singh has said he's surprised the trust has been given approval without a nod from the country's drug controller. "We are not talking about an immunity booster. We are talking about a cure," said MD Acharya Balkrishna.
Glenmark Pharmaceuticals said that it will begin a new clinical trial in India to test a combination of two antiviral drugs, favipiravir and umifenovir, as a potential COVID-19 treatment. The study will look to enroll 158 hospitalised patients suffering from moderate COVID-19 infections in India, the company said.
Sun Pharmaceutical has also received approval from DCGI to initiate clinical trials on Nafamostat Mesilate on COVID patients. Nafamostat is used to treat acute symptoms of pancreatitis and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC).