Indians could get Covid vaccine by early 2021: Minister


India’s health minister Harsh Vardhan Thursday said he was hopeful that a coronavirus vaccine will be made available in the country by the start of next year.

The remarks come at a time when India has recorded more than 5 million Covid-19 cases and with no apparent slowdown in the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus despite a prolonged nationwide lockdown that has left India’s economy battered and millions unemployed.

Just like other countries, India is also making efforts,” Vardhan said in the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of India’s Parliament, .

Three vaccines candidates are in different phases. Under the prime minister’s guidance, an expert group is looking at it and there is advanced planning in place. We are hopeful that by the start of next year a vaccine will be available in India,” he added.

Two indigenous vaccines, by Zydus Cadila and Bharat Biotech, have completed phase one trials. The Serum Institute of India (SII) has also again commenced the trials of the Oxford AstraZenaca vaccine after getting regulatory clearance.

India is the manufacturing partner of the vaccine candidate named Covishield, developed jointly by the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute and AstraZeneca. The Pune-based SII is looking after the trials at 17 trial sites across India.

Besides this, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Limited, a global pharmaceutical company headquartered out of India, have agreed to cooperate on clinical trials and distribution of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine in India.

Sputnik V, an adenovirus vector-based vaccine, was developed by the Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology along with the Russian Direct Investment Fund, and registered August 11.

“On regulatory approval in India, RDIF shall supply to Dr Reddy’s 100 million doses of the vaccine,” said a statement from the fund Wednesday.


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