Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr. Harsh Vardhan (File Photo)
Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr. Harsh Vardhan (File Photo)

India may start vaccinating people against COVID-19 in January: Harsh Vardhan

By Naveen Kapoor | Updated: Dec 21, 2020 01:17 IST


New Delhi [India], December 20 (ANI): India may begin vaccinating people against COVID-19 in January and the government's first priority has been safety and efficacy of the vaccine, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said.

“I personally feel may be in January in any stage or any week, there can be a time when we can be in a position to give first COVID vaccine shot to people of India"  Harsh Vardhan told ANI in an exclusive interview.  

He was asked about India's vaccination drive against coronavirus.

The minister said that the vaccines, including those who have applied for emergency use authorisation are being analysed by the regulator.  

"India is not less than any country when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine and research. Our first priority has been the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. We do not want any comprise on that. Our regulators are analysing them with seriousness," he said.

The minister had said on Saturday that the country's scientists and health experts have worked on the development of an indigenous vaccine and in the upcoming six to seven months India will have the capacity to inoculate about 30 crore people.

"Our scientists and health experts have worked on the development of a vaccine by genome sequencing and isolation of the coronavirus and developed an indigenous vaccine. In 6-7 months, we will have the capacity to inoculate about 30 crore people" he had said addressing the 22nd Group of Ministers (GoM) meeting on COVID-19.

According to the Health Ministry, there are nine COVID-19 vaccine candidates in different phases of clinical trials in India -- six are under clinical trials and three in pre-clinical phase.

Covishield vaccine candidate is on the Chimpanzee Adenovirus platform and is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) in Pune. The vaccine has been developed by Astrazeneca in collaboration with Oxford University. The regulator had allowed the phase 2 and 3 clubbed clinical trials of the vaccine and they have applied for emergency use authorisation.

Covaxin vaccine is on an inactivated virus platform. It is being manufactured by Bharat Biotech International Ltd, Hyderabad in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and is in phase 3 trials. They have also applied for emergency use authorisation.

Another vaccine candidate ZyCoV-D is based on the DNA platform. It is being manufactured by Cadila Healthcare Ltd, Ahmedabad. Their collaborator is the Department of Biotechnology. It is in phase 3 trials.

The Russian vaccine (Sputnik V) is based on the human adenovirus platform and it is being manufactured by Dr Reddy's lab of Hyderabad. Their collaborator is Gamaleya National Centre, Russia and the vaccine is in the phase 3 trial, the Ministry said.  

The vaccine candidate NVX-CoV2373 is based on the protein sub-unit platform. It is being developed by the Serum Institute of India, Pune. Their collaborator is Novavax. The phase 3 trial of this vaccine is under consideration in India.

There is a recombinant protein antigen-based vaccine candidate. It is being manufactured by Biological E Ltd, Hyderabad. Their collaborator is MIT, USA. Its phase I and II human clinical trials have started.

HGCO 19, which is an mRNA-based vaccine, is being manufactured by Genova, Pune. Their collaborator is HDT, USA. The pre-clinical animal studies are over for this vaccine. The phase 1 and 2 clinical trials will start for this vaccine in the near future.

Another vaccine candidate is inactivated rabies vector platform. It is being manufactured by Bharat Biotech International Ltd, Hyderabad. Their collaborator is Thomas Jefferson University, USA. It is in the advanced pre-clinical trial stage.

Vesiculo Vax platform is manufactured by Aurobindo Pharma in collaboration with Aurovaccine (USA) and is in the pre-development stage.

Earlier this month the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to authorise the use of Pfizer and BioNTech for emergency purposes. 

On December 2, the UK became the first country in the world to authorise the use of Pfizer and BioNTech for emergency purposes, thus, paving way for the delivery of the vaccines.

With 26,624 new COVID-19 cases recorded in the last 24 hours, India's total coronavirus cases reached 1,00,31,223, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) on Sunday. (ANI)

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