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World Immunisation Week: Out of 100 Active Projects In The World To Develop COVID-19 Vaccine, There Are Six Indian Companies

India is considered to be one of the largest manufacturer of generic drugs and vaccines in the world and has six firms working on producing vaccines against COVID-19 presently 

Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Can Produce Immune Response Against Coronavirus: Study
  • Nearly 100 projects developing COVID-19 vaccination across the globe: WHO
  • India home to six companies developing COVID-19 vaccines: ICMR
  • Seven vaccine development projects in the world have entered human trials

New Delhi: The World Health Organization says that there are almost 100 active projects across the globe for the development of a vaccine that can help put an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. These projects are being headed by research teams in companies and universities, trying out different technologies. More than 70 percent of the groups leading vaccine research efforts are from industrial or private firms, it says.

India is considered to be one of the largest manufacturer of generic drugs and vaccines in the world. Both major and smaller vaccine makers in India are producing immunisation doses against polio, meningitis, pneumonia, rotavirus, measles, mumps and rubella, among other diseases. India is also home to six companies who are developing COVID-19 vaccines, a Health Ministry official told NDTV.

Pune-based Serum Institute of India is the world’s largest vaccine maker by number of doses produced and sold globally. It makes 1.5 billion doses every year. Serum Institute has collaborated with a US based firm, Codagenix, as well as UK’s Oxford University to develop the vaccine. The latter is expected to be fast-tracked by the manufacturing process beginning in May and vaccination available by September, if the ongoing human trial in Oxford is proven to be fruitful.

Also Read: Combating COVID-19: High-Level Task Force To Work On Vaccines, Drug Testing Constituted

On the other hand, Gujarat based pharmaceutical company Zydus Cadila, three Hyderabad-based companies – Biological E, Bharat Biotech and Indian Immunologicals, and Bengaluru based Mynvax are developing one vaccine each, the Health Ministry official informed NDTV.

These will however take at least a year to 18 months, given that it is a complicated process with many stages of testing and many challenges for it to be effective for a large variety of population, he said.

Generally, development of vaccines start with clinical trials which includes safety studies in animals and people, followed by larger human trials to determine whether a vaccine generates an immune response, the official explained.

The main goals of these phases is to test a vaccine for safety, side-effects and the ability to induce immunity, which are very complicated yet crucial processes, he said.

Researchers are accelerating these steps and hope to have a vaccine ready in 18 months, according to WHO.

Also Read: How Long Will The World Have To Wait For A Vaccine Against COVID-19? Experts Answer

When it comes to the global COVID-19 vaccine development scenario, WHO says that at least seven groups, using various techniques, have begun human trials of the vaccines, while others are practiSing animal testing.

Timeline of seven projects in the human trials, as per the World Health Organization

  1. US biotech firm Moderna started human trials on March 3.
  2. Joint effort by CanSino Biological Inc. and Beijing Institute of Biotechnology in China which went in the human trial process on March 17.
  3. US biotech firm Inovio Pharmaceuticals began the human trial on April 3.
  4. A joint effort by Beijing Institute of Biological Products and Wuhan Institute of Biological Products began human trials on April 10.
  5. Chinese based biopharma company Sinovac started human trials on April 13.
  6. University of Oxford which went into the human trials phase on April 23.
  7. Joint project of German company BioNTech and US pharma giant Pfizer are all set to enter the human trials as they have passed the other forms of clinical trials.

WHO observes the last week of April as the World Immunisation Week which aims to raise awareness on the importance of immunisation to fight diseases.

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