Nearly 30 candidates for the COVID-19 vaccine are under development across the country, by industry and academia, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said on Friday.
“Nationally, nearly 30 COVID-19 vaccine candidates are under development, by both industry and academia. These vaccines are in different stages of pre-clinical and clinical development of which three candidates are in the advanced stage of Phase I/II/III trials and four are in advanced pre-clinical development stage. Support is also being extended for the development of vaccine-associated research resources, the establishment of clinical trial sites, and notifying enabling regulatory guidelines,” Vardhan said in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.
“A high-level expert group is looking into matters related to vaccine distribution and immunization. The distribution and immunization of the coronavirus vaccine are subject to availability,” he added.
Vardhan further said once available, the coronavirus vaccine distribution will follow the same route as for the current practice of vaccines distribution under the Universal Immunization Program (UIP).
As per an official release of the Ministry of Science and Technology, five National COVID-19 bio-repositories have been established by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
“This is a part of the network of 16 COVID-19 biorepositories established in the country by the Department of Biotechnology, Indian Council of Medical Research and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. The repositories are collecting clinical and viral samples. So far, 44,452 clinical samples and 17 viral isolates have been collected which are accessible to researchers and industry for developing diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines,” the release said.
The pan India 1,000 SARS-CoV-2 RNA Genome Sequencing has been successfully completed and was announced on August 1, 2020, by the Department of Biotechnology.
“This was led by the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics (NIBMG-Kalyani), West Bengal, an Autonomous Institute of Department of Biotechnology, along with five other National clusters; clinical organizations and other hospitals,” the release said.
These sequences have been uploaded on Global Initiative on Sharing All India Influenza Data (GISAID) for use by researchers across the globe. These sequences have been uploaded under the ‘Pan India 1000 SARS-CoV-2 RNA Genome Sequencing Consortium’. These are now available for use by researchers, it said.
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