Update on COVID 19 Vaccine: Where does India stand? 

Will India be able to make Coronavirus vaccine by 15th August

On July 2, ICMR’s issued a directive to lead researchers of several institutions chosen as test sites to complete clinical trials as soon as possible.  They want India to make the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine ready by August 15. However, ICMR later said that it has not set 15 August as a deadline for domestic companies and institutions to make COVID-19 vaccine. Still, the announcement came as a sigh of relief for many.

If you are looking for answers that where do we stand in terms of finding the vaccine for coronavirus, you are at the right place. Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadila have started human trials for their COVID-19 vaccine from this week.

How does India’s vaccine work?

Zydus Cadila’s ZyCov-D is a plasmid DNA vaccine which uses genetically engineered plasmids- a type of DNA molecule that is coded with the antigen against which the immune response is to be built. The injected DNA sequence would match the virus which will help the body to make antibodies against it.

As per the Bharat Biotech’s, their vaccine Covaxin is made using the particles of the novel coronavirus that were killed so that it is not doesn’t infect or replicate in people who are injected with it. Particular doses of Covaxin will is claimed to build immunity against the deadly -virus by creating antibodies.

Both vaccines have currently moved to the first phase of human trials. Once, three phases trials are done, it will be ready for use. In the first phase, a smaller group will be given COVID-19 vaccine, in the second phase, more people will be vaccinated. In the third or the final phase, the entire population will be vaccinated.  This consumes a lot of time, as scientists, medical professional and researchers have to observe the effect of the vaccine in the humans for a long duration in all three phases.

It is expected that both these companies will need at least a year to conduct all the three phases of human trials. This means India is not getting its vaccine before 2021. However, if some other Indian company comes up with claims that they have prepared the vaccine, then the scenario might change.

Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines said on August 8 that at least 10 crore doses of the vaccine would be made available for as low as US$ 3 (less than Rs 225) per dose. This is the lowest price indications that we have been seen so far for the vaccine which are currently under developments.

A total of about 8 vaccines is being developed in India. 2 of these have entered phase 2 trials after successfully completing phase 1.

Read more: Can mosquitoes spread COVID-19 infection from one person to another?

COVID-19 vaccines all over the world

So far, there are more than 165 vaccine candidates against the coronavirus and 28 of these have reached the human trials stage. Here are the companies who have reached in the third phases of Coronavirus trials.

Sinovac Biotech, a Chinese company has already commenced Phase 3 of clinical trials in Brazil along with Brazilian vaccine maker, the Instituto Butantan.

Russia recently made headlines after they claimed that they have developed the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine. However, WHO’s status of their vaccine candidate still shows Phase 1 of human trials.

China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), a Chinese company announced that it became the first vaccine maker to begin the last stage of clinical trials.

Ad5-nCoV vaccine, made by the Chinese company named CanSino Biologics has been approved for limited usage for the military in China for a limited period of time.

The US biotech firm Moderna recently announced that they would enter the final stage of human trials for its COVID-19 vaccine on July 27. The US biotech firm is reported to have said that it could price its vaccine between US$50 and US$60 (between Rs 3,750 and Rs 4,500) per dose.

The German company BioNTech along with the Chinese Drugmaker Fosum Pharma and Pfizer is also in the third phase of human trials. The vaccine is expected to be priced around US$40 per dose (about Rs 3,000).

A British-Swedish company AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford together have made a vaccine based on chimpanzee adenovirus called ChAdOx1. The vaccine is in a Phase 2/3 trial in England and Phase 3 trials in South Africa and Brazil.

The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Australia is also in the third phase of the Coronavirus vaccine trail.

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