Three coronavirus vaccines in advanced stage of clinical trials in India: Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan | Photo Credit: iStock Images

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Three coronavirus vaccines in advanced stage of clinical trials in India: Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan

Three experimental coronavirus vaccines are in the advanced stage of clinical testing in India.


Key Highlights

New Delhi: Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Monday said that three coronavirus vaccines are in advanced stage of phase 1/2/3 clinical trials in India, while more than 30 candidates have been supported which are in different stages of development in the country. The Health Minister said this as he was briefing the Parliament regarding steps taken by India to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr Vardhan had said that a vaccine for COVID-19 might be ready by the first quarter of 2021.

According to the minister, more than four candidates are in advanced pre-clinical development stage in the country, as he asserted that an effective vaccine would be the sure-shot tool in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. COVAXIN, India's first indigenous vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus developed by Bharat Biotech in partnership with ICMR, and Zydus Cadila’s ZyCoV-D are in the second phase of clinical testing. Serum Institute of India (SII) is testing the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine candidate, dubbed Covishield in India, across the country. Worldwide, around 145 vaccines against COVID-19 are currently in preclinical evaluation and 35 candidates are in clinical trials.

On 7th August, 2020, the Government of India has constituted a National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 under the Chairmanship of Member (Health), NITI Aayog, to coordinate procurement and distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine in the country, he said. He said a major focus in India has been on facilitating the development of COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr Vardan further added that thirteen clinical trials of repurposed drugs and harnessing of traditional knowledge using the modern medicine approach are building a portfolio of therapeutic options for COVID-19 patients. He said in a statement that phase 2 clinical trial of immunomodulator Sepsivac has been completed successfully, adding the phase 2 clinical trial of the first-ever phytopharmaceutical ACQH is underway. He also revealed that one prophylactic trial of Aswagandha and three trials of Guduchi + Pippali; Yashtimadhu, and polyherbal AYUSH drug (AYUSH-64) are planned on moderately ill coronavirus patients.

COVID-19 Biorepositories have been set up, which have collected more than 40,000 samples which have been made available to researchers and industry for developing diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines, Dr Vardhan added.

To help manage and mitigate COVID-19, he said the Ministry of AYUSH has contributed through various measures, including guidelines of self-care for preventive health measures and boosting immunity.