India’s race against finding a vaccine has 7 pharmas on the lead


As India’s Covid-19 cases is on a rapid rise, with the tally crossing 11 lakh mark and new highest single-day spike of 40,425 cases in the last 24 hours, the need for a vaccine is reaching desperation level.

Currently, there are seven Indian pharma companies working to develop a vaccine to check the spread of the deadly virus. Most of these have entered human trials with success notes, some are still in developmental stages.

Scientists are hoping to develop a coronavirus vaccine within months because of the pandemic. India is one of the largest vaccine producers in the world.

Here are the vaccines that are indigenously developed in India and a look at which stage they are as of today.

1) Covaxin, Bharat Biotech

The company has received approval to conduct phase I and II clinical trial for its vaccine candidate Covaxin, which has been developed and manufactured in the company’s facility in Hyderabad. It last week started human trials of its vaccine Covaxin at Rohtak’s Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences.

2) AstraZeneca, Serum Institute of India

Leading vaccine major Serum Institute of India has said that it is hoping to develop a COVID-19 vaccine by the year-end. The institute said it will start human trials in India in August 2020.

3) ZyCoV-D, Zydus Cadila

Pharma major Zydus Cadila has said that it is looking to complete clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate ZyCoV-D in seven months. The company had last week started clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate with the first human dosing. Depending on the study outcomes and if the data is encouraging and the vaccine is found to be effective during the trials, it could take a total of seven months for the trials to be completed and for the vaccine to be launched, Zydus Cadila Chairman Pankaj R Patel said in a statement.

4) Panacea Biotec

Panacea Biotec has set up a joint venture firm in Ireland with US-based Refana Inc to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. The company in partnership with Refana aims to manufacture over 500 million doses of COVID-19 candidate vaccine, with over 40 million doses expected to be available for delivery early next year, Panacea Biotec had said.

5) Indian Immunologicals

Indian Immunologicals, a subsidiary of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), has inked an agreement with Australia’s Griffith University to develop a vaccine for coronavirus.

6) Mynvax

The company is working on a vaccine candidate which it hopes to develop in 18 months. It is currently at pre-clinical trial level.

7) Biological E

The vaccine candidate being developed by Biological E is currently at pre-clinical trial level.

Vaccine testing process

Vaccine testing is a four-stage process — pre-clinical testing on animals, phase I clinical testing on a small group of people to determine its safety and to learn more about the immune response it provokes, phase II trials are expanded safety trials, and phase III testing is done by administering it to thousands of people to confirm its efficacy.

Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) is tracking around 140 candidates vaccines, of which around two dozen are in various phases of human clinical trials.