A handful of countries have made remarkable progress in the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine. In India, at least seven companies have joined the list of hundreds of foreign firms for vaccine development against COVID-19. Bharat Biotech, Zydus Cadila, Indian Immunologicals, Nynvax, Panacea Biotec, and Biological E are among the domestic pharmaceutical firms working on the COVID-19 vaccine.
Here are the developments on coronavirus vaccine from India:
1. Bharat Biotech: Hyderabad-based Bharat Bharat Biotech India (BBIL) in collaboration with ICMR's National Institute of Virology (NIV) has developed India's first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine candidate Covaxin. Covaxin's human trial has begun at AIIMS Delhi on Monday. In phase-1, the vaccine would be tested on 375 volunteers and the maximum of 100 of them would be from AIIMS.
2. Zydus Cadila: Drug firm Zydus Cadila has started clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, ZyCoV-D, with the first human dosing. The company is looking to complete clinical trials of its vaccine candidate in seven months. Zydus had received approval from the national drug regulator to initiate human trials for its Covid-19 vaccine contender in early July.
3. Serum Institute of India: It is working on the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine, which is undergoing phase 3 clinical trials. Besides, the vaccine major will also start human trials in India in August. It is also developing a vaccine with the US-based biotech firm Codagenix. Apart from the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine and Codagenix, Serum Institute of India has associated with Austria's Themis for vaccine candidates.
4. Panacea Biotec: Pharmaceutical and vaccine maker Panacea Biotec has associated with the US-based Refana Inc to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. The company aims to manufacture over 500 million doses of the COVID-19 candidate vaccine, with over 40 million doses expected to be available for delivery early next year.
5. Mynvax: This startup, which is backed by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is also working on experimental vaccines for the novel coronavirus. Mynvax had sought Rs 15 crore in funding from the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) to scale the process.
6. Indian Immunologicals Ltd: IIL has entered into a research collaboration agreement with Australia's Griffith University to develop a lead vaccine candidate for COVID-19.
7. Biological E: This is another pharmaceutical firm that is at the forefront to develop coronavirus vaccine. It is currently at the pre-clinical trial level.
Globally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is tracking around 140 vaccine candidates, of which around two dozens are in various phases of human trials. Chinese company Sinovac Biotech and Oxford/AstraZeneca have entered into Phase-3 trial. Besides, the US-based Moderna is also expecting to start the Phase-3 trial of its vaccine candidate by the end of this month.