Three indigenous coronavirus vaccines in trials, distribution plan ready: PM
With the world counting on a coronavirus vaccine to save it from the disease that has taken 763,572 lives so far, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said India is ready to mass-produce the vaccine once it's developed. Speaking on 74th Independence Day from the red sandstone monument, the Red Fort, he said three indigenous vaccines were in different phases of trials. Here's more.
"Not one, not two, but three vaccines in trials"
PM Modi, who has been addressing the nation frequently since the disease's outbreak, said that everyone was eyeing a vaccine. "Not one, not two, as many as three coronavirus vaccines are being tested in India," he said giving hope to a country adversely affected by the virus, which has its origins in China. He said the government was waiting for approval from scientists.
He said infrastructure to make vaccine available is ready
"As soon as our experts and scientists give the green signal, a Made in India COVID-19 vaccine will be available soon. We have prepared the infrastructure to provide the vaccine to every person in the country," he went on.
Yesterday, reports said COVAXIN's trials yielded positive results
Three vaccines, being made by Bharat Biotech International, Zydus Cadila, and Serum Institute of India, are being tested in India. Yesterday, reports said that Bharat Biotech's vaccine — COVAXIN — was found to be safe in initial trials. Dr. Savita Verma, the in-charge of clinical Phase-1 study at PGI Rohtak, said the dose didn't have side-effects. AIIMS' Dr. Sanjay Rai also made similar conclusions.
India's Serum Institute already involved in vaccine work
It's pertinent to note that SII, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, has already joined hands with Oxford University, whose ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 yielded encouraging results in human trials, and American biotech company Novavax, which is also working on the vaccine, to mass-produce doses when the final rounds are finished. Earlier, SII CEO Adar Poonawalla had said each dose would cost $3 (Rs. 224 approximately).
ICMR's August 15 deadline sparked disbelief among scientists
On a related note, ICMR, the body leading India's coronavirus fight, was previously criticized for giving an August 15 deadline for the world's first vaccine. In a letter sent to 12 institutes, where COVAXIN trials were happening, ICMR's Director-General Balram Bhargava had said, "It is envisaged to launch the vaccine for public health use latest by August 15 after completion of all clinical trials."
Close to 50,000 have died in India
Not to mention, India is now the third-worst affected country, with 2,530,490 cases and 49,170 deaths. The worst-affected nation is the US, with 5,476,266 cases and 171,535 deaths, followed by Brazil where 3,278,895 have been infected and 106,571 died. The spread of the disease in India has alarmed experts, including WHO, but the recovery rate of nearly 70% provides some respite.