New Delhi: Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Tuesday said that there are six COVID-19 vaccine candidates in different clinical trial stages being developed by various manufacturers in India.
Besides this, three COVID-19 vaccine candidates are in the pre-clinical stage of which one of the coronavirus vaccine candidates is in the pre-development stage being researched by Aurobindo Pharma, the official said.
"Six vaccines are in the clinical trial stage. And there are three vaccines in the pre-clinical stage. Some of them may get licensed in the coming weeks but we cannot foretell at this moment of time because licensing is the domain of the national regulator the Drugs Controller General of India," Bhushan said at a press conference organised by the Health Ministry here.
"These vaccines are of two to three doses. Even after vaccination, COVID-19 precautions must be followed as advised by the scientists," he noted.
The first vaccine is Covishield, which is being manufactured on the Chimpanzee Adenovirus platform and by the Serum Institute of India (SII) in Pune. The collaborative company is Astrazeneca. "The regulator had allowed the phase 2 and 3 clubbed clinical trials of the vaccine to them and they have applied for emergency use authorisation," he said.
On Covaxin, he said that this vaccine is on an inactivated virus platform. "This is being manufactured by Bharat Biotech International Limited, Hyderabad in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The vaccine is in phase 3 trials. They have also applied for emergency use authorisation." The third vaccine candidate is ZyCoV-D which is based on the DNA platform. It is being manufactured by Cadila Healthcare Ltd, Ahmedabad. Their collaborator is the Department of Biotechnology. It is in phase 3 of the trials.
The Health Secretary further said that the fourth vaccine candidate is the Russian vaccine (Sputnik V) which is based on the human adenovirus platform. It is being manufactured by Dr Reddy's lab in Hyderabad. Their collaborator is Gamaleya National Centre, Russia. Their phase 3 trial will begin next week.
The fifth vaccine candidate is NVX-CoV2373 which is based on the protein sub-unit platform. It is being developed by the Serum Institute of India, Pune. Their collaborator is Novavax and the phase 3 trial of this vaccine is under consideration in India.
The sixth vaccine candidate is a recombinant protein antigen-based vaccine. It is being manufactured by Biological E Ltd, Hyderabad. Their collaborator is Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA. The pre-clinical animal studies have concluded for this vaccine, he said.
The seventh vaccine candidate is HGCO 19 which is an mRNA-based vaccine. It is being manufactured by Genova, Pune. Their collaborator is HDT, USA. The pre-clinical animal studies are over for this vaccine. Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials will start for this vaccine in the near future.
The Health Secretary added that the eighth vaccine candidate is on an inactivated rabies vector platform. "It is being manufactured by the Bharat Biotech International Ltd, Hyderabad. Their collaborator is Thomas Jefferson University, USA. It is in the advanced pre-clinical trial stage.""Vaccination efforts of the country are guided by the principles regarding the same espoused by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15 from the ramparts of red fort," he added.
The Health Secretary further said that there are 3.83 lakh active cases in India as of Tuesday.
"A total of around 97 lakh cases have been reported in the country out of which there are less than 4 lakh active cases. Active cases are those who are in hospitals or in self-isolation at their homes. There are 3.83 lakh active cases in the country. The total number of deaths reported due to COVID-19 stands at 1.40 lakhs. As many as 14.80 crore tests have been conducted in the country," he informed.
"India has 7,000 cases per million which is one of the lowest in the world," he added.
Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson today announced that the first vaccinations against the coronavirus have begun in the country.
Taking to Twitter, Johnson said, "Today the first vaccinations in the UK against COVID-19 begin. Thank you to our NHS, to all of the scientists who worked so hard to develop this vaccine, to all the volunteers - and to everyone who has been following the rules to protect others. We will beat this together." On December 2, the UK became the first country in the world to authorise the use of Pfizer and BioNTech for emergency purposes, thus, paving way for the delivery of the vaccines.
The first recipient of the vaccine was Margaret Keenan from Northern Ireland who is 90-year-old. She was vaccinated at University Hospital in Coventry earlier on Tuesday.
According to the latest data by the Johns Hopkins University, globally 67,650,207 people have tested positive for coronavirus and 1,545,723 deaths have been reported so far.
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