The coronavirus contagion is increasing in India - making it the third worst-hit country after the United States of America and Brazil. In India, the fatality rate of the disease is 2.7% and the recovery rate is around 62%. Institutions worldwide are engaged in discovering medicines and vaccines to control the virus.
Major countries in the course to develop Covid vaccines are Russia, China, the USA, Germany, United Kingdom and Australia. Total 21 vaccines are at pre clinical clinical stage, 15 vaccines are at phase I or phase II and 3 vaccines are at early research stage. India too is developing two indigenous vaccines. These vaccines are at pre clinical stage and have been approved for phase I and phase II trials.
BBIL and ICMR to launch an indigenous vaccine - Covaxin
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is collaborating with Hyderabad based Bharat Biotech India Ltd. (BBIL) and National Institute of Virology (NIV) to develop an indigenous Covid-19 vaccine (BBV152 COVID vaccine). For research, the SARS-CoV-2 strain was isolated in NIV, Pune and then it was transferred to BBIL. The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has given permission to initiate phase I and phase II of human clinical trials. ICMR previously submitted results generated from preclinical studies and demonstrated its safety and immune responses. ICMR has recently designated 12 institutes for clinical trial of India’s first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine.
The trials for Covaxin will start from the second week of July. All India Institute of Medical Sciences
(AIIMS) - Patna will start the clinical trials. The institute is now in the process of completion of guidelines related to logistics and other procedures. Initially, in the phase I, the vaccine will be tested on 375 people and then on 750 people in the next phase. To have the results fast, the medical institutions were ordered to fast track their trials making it a priority project. The clinical trials will take around six to eight months to complete the process.
Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila will launch an indigenous vaccine – ZyCoV-D
Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila stated that they have established the DNA vaccine platform using non-replicating and non-integrating plasmid carrying the gene. This will be the second coronavirus vaccine to get approval for
human trials in India after Covaxin. Zydus Cadila has been approved by DCGI to initiate their phase I and phase II of human trials.
Zydus Cadila in their statement claimed that the vaccine showed a strong immune response in animal studies and the antibodies were able to neutralise the wild type of coronavirus. The company claimed that no ‘safety concern’ was observed for the vaccine candidate. It has also shown improved vaccine-stability and lower cold-chain requirement. This will help in the transportation of the vaccine. Zydus will begin human trials in July on 1,000 volunteers across India.
Pankaj Patel, Group Chairman of Zydus Cadila has stated that the phase I and II trials will take around three months to be completed. After this, if DGCI allows them to proceed to the third phase, it will take three more months for the vaccine to be available. The company said that they would not export the vaccine before meeting India’s demands.