India will have a vaccine for the novel coronavirus by early next year and it will possibly come from several sources, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Tuesday. In a meeting of the group of ministers, the health minister stated that expert groups are formulating strategies to plan on how to roll out the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in the country.
"We're expecting that early next year we should have vaccine in the country from maybe more than one source. Our expert groups are formulating strategies to plan on how to roll out the distribution of the vaccine in the country," news agency ANI tweeted quoting Harsh Vardhan.
The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has granted license for manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccine for preclinical test, examination and analysis to the seven manufacturers in India. These companies are Pune-based Serum Institute, Cadila Healthcare, Bharat Biotech, Reliance Life Sciences, Aurbindo Pharma, and Gennova Biopharmaceuticals.
Bharat Biotech's vaccine candidate 'Covaxin', being indigenously developed in collaboration with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), has started phase 2 clinical trials and is the process to start phase 3 study. The Hyderabad-based vaccine maker has applied for the permission to conduct phase 3 randomised double-blind placebo-controlled multicentre trial of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
A DNA vaccine, which has been developed by Cadila Healthcare, has conducted pre-clinical toxicity studies on small animals like mice, rats, rabbits and guinea pigs. Its phase 2 clinical trials is ongoing.
Meanwhile, Serum Institute of India (SII) and ICMR have partnered for clinical development of two global vaccine candidates, including ChAdOx1-S, which is a non-replicating viral vector vaccine developed by University of Oxford/AstraZeneca. This vaccine is undergoing phase 3 of clinical trials in Brazil. Phase 2 studies have been initiated by ICMR at 14 clinical trial sites.
By Chitranjan Kumar