2 Indian covid-19 vaccine candidates to enter clinical trials soon

  • 3 weeks   ago
2 Indian covid-19 vaccine candidates to enter clinical trials soon
As covid-19 cases in India ballooned to 933,522, two indigenous vaccine candidates will enter human trials this month with more than 1,000 volunteers to be enrolled for the process on a fast-track basis, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said on Tuesday.
“Two indigenous Indian vaccine candidates have undergone successful toxicity studies in rats, mice, and rabbits and the toxicity data has been shared with Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). They have got clearance to start human trials early this month," said Dr Balram Bhargava, director general, ICMR.
The companies are Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India.
“Approximately 1,000 human volunteers are participating in clinical trials for each of the two vaccine candidates and pre-clinical experiments for these as well as other vaccines are also being done at the National Institute of Virology, Pune," Bhargava said.
The government said that 60% of the vaccines supplied in the world are of Indian origin and India is perceived and is an important player in the vaccine supply for the world.
“Any covid-19 vaccine produced or developed in any part of the world will ultimately have to be scaled up either by India or China. Every country which is developing a vaccine is in communication with India since they are aware India is a major producer," Bhargava said.
The government said that Russia and China have fast-tracked the vaccine development process, while the US and UK are also trying to fast-track the development programme.
“Efforts are being taken to ensure that not a single day is wasted for regulatory or approval purpose, without compromising on the science, quality, and ethics part of it," Bhargava said.
The Union health ministry said it has started a consultative exercise to gather information from treating doctors on complications being faced by patients who have recovered from covid-19, based on which some guidelines may also be issued in the future.
The number of people in India who have recovered from covid-19 is around 1.8 times the number of active cases. In many states, the number of daily discharges from hospitals is more than that of daily admissions.
Covid-19 cases are unequal in distribution in India. “As much as 86% of total active covid-19 cases are confined to just 10 states, while 50% of active cases are in two states, which shows that the spread of covid-19 is not happening uniformly across the country," said Rajesh Bhushan, officer on special duty (OSD), in the health ministry.
As testing is critical in containing the spread, the World Health Organization (WHO) has come out with a document underlining the need for comprehensive surveillance and testing of suspect covid-19 cases, stating that testing 140 people per day per 1 million population would be comprehensive.
“As many as 22 states are doing more than 140 covid-19 tests per day per million. Centre is asking states and Union territories to increase testing so that we proceed towards the guidelines given by the WHO. There were 101 covid-19 RT-PCR testing labs in mid-March, while today there are 1,206 RT-PCR testing labs and 280 rapid antigen testing centres," Bhushan said.
The government has also conducted a sero survey to find the presence of coronavirus among people in containment zones. The ICMR said that at present stratification of data collected for the sero survey in Delhi and its analysis is being done. As many as 22,800 blood samples were collected for this particular sero survey till 5 July.
The health ministry said that the national covid-19 fatality rate is 2.6% and it is coming down.
“Deaths per 1 million population in India too is among the lowest in the world, while in some countries it is 35 times higher. Despite being the second most populous country of the world, the daily growth rate of new covid-19 cases in India has been coming down continuously," Bhushan said.
“For the last two weeks, AIIMS doctors have been engaging two days every week with intensive care unit (ICU) doctors of treating hospitals to resolve problems faced in saving critically ill covid-19 patients," he added.

Source: Livemint.com