Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan
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Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday said that India is hosting clinical trials for all the major vaccines, and about 20 vaccines are in different stages of development.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Science & Technology, while was speaking at the 8th BRICS STI Ministerial Meeting, Vardhan said that two of them are in the most advanced stage of development.

“In India, about 20 vaccines are in different stages of development. Two of them are in the most advanced stage of development - COVAXIN developed through ICMR-Bharat Biotech collaboration and COVISHIELD from the Serum Institute of India. Both are in Phase-III clinical trial stage. Our premier institution – the Indian Council of Medical Research - is involved in their trial executions,” Vardhan said.

"One of our pharma giants, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, will distribute the Russian vaccine in India after conducting final-stage human trials and receiving regulatory approval," the minister said.

The Union Health Minister also said that India has initiated an integrated response to overcome this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. "India has initiated an integrated response to overcome this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. From the development of indigenous vaccines, novel point-of-care diagnostics and therapeutic formulations based on traditional knowledge, to establishing research resources and offering services, Indian R&D entities, both public and private, are working relentlessly to develop effective interventions for combating the pandemic," Vardhan said.

Vardhan said more than 100 start-ups have developed innovative products for COVID-19. He said the government has announced a USD 120 million grant for COVID-19 vaccine research. This is being provided for CovidSuraksha (Mission for protection from Covid) and is to be used purely for research and development in this field, he said. "The grant does not cover the actual cost of the vaccine and its distribution expenses, which will be made separately as and when the vaccine is available," he said.

Valery Falkov, Russian Minister of Science and Higher Education, Marcos Pontes, Brazilian Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Huang Wei, First Vice Minister of Science and Technology, China, Bonginkosi Emmanuel Nzimande, South African Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology and several other dignitaries from member countries participated in the meeting.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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