India becomes frontrunner to develop COVID19 vaccine

India has become one of the frontrunners in the global effort to develop a vaccine for the containment of COVID-19. Government agencies have stepped up collaboration with private partners to fastrack the approval process needed for development of a potential COVID vaccine. Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadilla have got the approvals from the Central Drug Standard Control Organisation to initiate human clinical trials for their indigenously developed vaccine after the pre-clinical trials.

ICMR and Bharat Biotech have joined hands for the development of potential COVID-19 vaccine called ‘Covaxin’. This is the first indigenous vaccine being developed by India and one of the top priority projects of the government.

The vaccine is derived from a strain SARS-COV2 isolated by ICMR-National Institute of Virology, Pune and transferred to Bharat Biotech. The vaccine being tested by Zydus’ vaccine was developed indigenously at the company’s Vaccine Technology Centre in Ahmedabad after completing the pre-clinical phase.

In the coming months, human clinical trials will be done to identify the efficancy of these potential vaccine. Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadilla have stepped up efforts to meet the target, however, final outcome will depend on the cooperation of all clinical sites involved in this project.

Meanwhile, India is also participating in the WHO solidarity trial which is an international clinical trial to compare four treatment options to assess their effectiveness against COVID-19. Another top Indian pharma company Serum Institute of India has bagged a contract with British drugmaker AstraZeneca to supply one billion doses of Oxford University’s potential COVID-19 vaccine.

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