Pharmaceutical companies in India and around the world are putting in great efforts to treat the coronavirus disease which has infected more than 20 million people so far.
Many scientific studies are also being done as part of efforts to find treatments and vaccines for Covid-19, the illness caused by the Sars-CoV-2 virus.
A total of 26 vaccine candidates are being developed, according to the World Health Organisation, as a process normally taking up to 15 years has been squeezed into a matter of months.
Here’s everything you need to know about the global efforts being made to find a vaccine fast for Covid-19:
• In India, an expert committee on vaccine administration will meet on Wednesday to consider “logistics and ethical aspects” of procurement and administration of vaccines against Covid-19, the Uniomn health ministry said today. The committee will be chaired by NITI Aayog’s Dr VK Paul. The coronavirus disease has infected more than 2.2 million people and killed over 44,000 in India.
• According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), three Indian vaccines are in different phases of clinical testing at present. Two of these vaccines – Bharat Biotech vaccine and DNA vaccine of Zydus Cadila have completed phase 1 and will begin phase 2 clinical trials, said the ICMR.
• Oxford vaccine, being manufactured by Serum Institute of India (SII) got approval for phase 2 and 3 clinical trials, which are starting within a week at 17 sites, the institute said.
• Karnataka’s deputy chief minister Dr CN Ashwath Narayan said on Tuesday that the state government is very keen to establish an Immunology and Vaccine Research Centre in Bengaluru in collaboration with the Emory Vaccine Centre of Atlanta University.
• Serum Institute of India (SII) had said last week that it has entered into a new partnership with international vaccine alliance Gavi and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate manufacturing and delivery of up to 100 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines for India as well as other low and middle-income countries. SII CEO Adar Poonawalla told a TV channel that the company will start manufacturing the vaccines by end of August.
• Globally, Russia is racing ahead to allow civilian use of a potential coronavirus vaccine before clinical trials are complete. The government plans to give a vaccine developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute conditional registration as early as this week, which would open the door to civilian use. This has led an industry body to call this rush dangerous for the common people. Yet less than 100 people had officially received the inoculation against the epidemic by early August and its widespread use could be dangerous, the Association of Clinical Trials Organizations said in a letter sent to Health Minister Mikhail Murashko on Monday.
• Meanwhile, Moderna has become the first company in the world to begin phase 3 testing of its coronavirus vaccine. The tests are being carried out at its facilities in the United States. The tests started on July 27 and the company plans to enroll 30,000 study subjects.
• Pfizer too started its combined phase 2 and 3 study on July 27 and hopes to enroll 30,000 volunteers by September. The company’s CEO Albert Bourla said they have vaccinated more than 2,000 people by first week of August.