Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan
Photo Credit: ANI

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Tuesday that they are expecting COVID-19 vaccine to be available from early next year.

Speaking during Group of Ministers meeting, he said that there is a possiblity that the vaccine will be available from more than one source.

While talking about the distribution strategy, he informed that the expert groups are formulating strategies to plan on how to roll out the distribution of the vaccine in the country.

On Monday, Soumya Swaminathan, the WHO chief scientist stated that WHO believes that a vaccine against the coronavirus disease will be ready for registration by the end of 2020 or early next year at the earliest.

"As you know, we have about 40 vaccine candidates now in some stage of clinical trials, and 10 of them are in the phase three trials, which are the late-stage clinical trials, which will tell us about both the efficacy and the safety. So, the best we could make a guess or predict, looking at when a trial started and when it is likely to have enough data to submit to the regulators, is [at] earliest from December of 2020 into the early part of 2021," Swaminathan told reporters.

Meanwhile, the number of new coronavirus infections reported daily across the country dropped below 60,000, even as the caseload surged to 71,75,880 and the total recoveries crossed 62 lakh, the Union Health Ministry data stated on Tuesday.

The total cases mounted to 71,75,880, with 55,342 infections being reported in a day, while the death toll climbed to 1,09,856 as the virus claimed 706 lives in a span of 24 hours, the data updated at 8 am showed.

For the fifth day in a row, the active cases of COVID-19 remained below 9 lakh.

The country has been recording less than 75,000 new infections daily for the fifth consecutive day and fatalities below 1,000 for 10 straight days.

India registered a record single-day increase of 97,894 COVID-19 cases on September 17.

There are 8,38,729 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which comprises 11.69 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated.

The COVID-19 case fatality rate due to COVID-19 was recorded at 1.53 per cent.

India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23 and 40 lakh on September 5. It went past 50 lakh on September 16, 60 lakh on September 28 and crossed 70 lakh on October 11.

According to ICMR, a cumulative total of 8,89,45,107 samples have been tested up to October 12 with 10,73,014 samples being tested on Monday.

(With inputs from agencies)

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