3 Indian vaccines reach advanced stages

 More than 8 million of those infected have recovered

India is the second in the world after the United States in cases of "Corona" (AP)
India is the second in the world after the United States in cases of "Corona" (AP)

New Delhi: Prakriti Gupta

At a time when countries are searching desperately for a vaccine to reach herd immunity in the face of the Corona virus as quickly as possible, attempts to reach the original Indian vaccine continue, as the Indian Prime Minister's Office indicated that work on at least 3 vaccines has reached advanced stages.

Work on the production of the first vaccine against "Corona" virus in India, called "Kovaxin", has entered the third phase in different parts of the country; Where the company «Bharat Beautique», based in the city of Hyderabad, made progress in the work of the vaccine that began in July (July). The company recently announced plans to launch the vaccine in mid-2021. “The search for a suitable vaccine for the Corona virus has reached the final stage,” says Dr. Venkata Rao, chief investigator of the "Cofaxine" experiment in humans. Professor Tariq Mansour, Vice President of Aligarh Islamic University, registered his name as the first volunteer in the third phase of the experiments, which began at the Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital and Medical College of Aligarh University, which is one of the 21 medical institutions across India selected by Indian Council of Medical Research.

The effectiveness of the vaccine has been proven, according to a statement by Rajini Kant, a scientist at the Indian Council of Medical Research. "It is expected that there will be a vaccine available at the beginning of next year during the month of February or March," said Kant, who is a member of the team working on the "Covid-19" virus. This gives India more hope to be the country that offers a vaccine early next year, even if the vaccine that AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford are working on is postponed. However, there has been a remarkable progress in the decline in the number of infected cases in India to less than 500 thousand for the first time after 106 days, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Health. More than 8 million of the 8.6 million infected people in India have recovered, which is the largest recovery rate in the world, at 92.7 per cent. Knowing that the number of injuries has exceeded 127 thousand.

On the other hand, the Zy Cove-D vaccine, which Zydos Cadila is working on, based in Ahmedabad, is likely to reach the third and final phase of clinical trials in which 30,000 volunteers are participating, which makes it the largest trial. Especially the virus in India. If all goes well, the vaccine should be available by March next year. The company is also working on producing another vaccine against the "Covid-19" virus, and previous data for clinical trials will be available by January. "The work is progressing smoothly and steadily at this point, and it is not appropriate to comment on the results until they are completed," Pankaj Patel, the company's president, said in a telephone interview. He added, "Many from other countries are showing great interest in the vaccine, and we will grant a license to use it in other markets so that we can expand the scope of manufacturing to extend outside India."

The company was able to reach the manufacturing capacity inside the country to 100 million doses annually, and it contracted with a manufacturer to increase production capacity to reach about 150 million doses annually. It is expected that regulatory bodies around the world, including the "Indian Medicines Control Authority", will issue an emergency license for the "Covid-19" vaccines, in order to start immunizing people once the trials of these vaccines are successful.

There is also another vaccine participating in the race, which is specific to the company "Genova Biopharma", which it is working on in cooperation with the "HDT Biotech Corporation" in Seattle, USA. It is currently undergoing trial and is achieving advanced success.

Experiences of foreign companies

Parallel to these experiments, the Indian Serum Institute, which is based in Pune, and is the largest vaccine manufacturer in terms of size, recently started the final phase of clinical trials for the vaccine prepared by the University of Oxford, which has a license from the company, AstraZeneca. Swedish English for Medicines. The institute is working to prepare one billion doses of 5 vaccines for the virus worldwide before the end of 2021-2022.

"The plan is to launch at least one vaccine every quarter, starting with (Coffee Shield), for which we obtained a license from AstraZeneca at the beginning of 2021," says Adar Bunawala. The vaccine is expected to be launched during the first quarter of next year, and perhaps earlier if the necessary licenses are obtained early, and then the process of immunizing people can start in January. “We already produce 20 to 30 million doses, and production could increase to between 70 and 80 million a month,” he says. We are currently producing less quantity due to the validity of the vaccine ».

It is likely that the second vaccine from SILS is "Kovax", a protein produced jointly with the company "Novovax". The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has also provided funding, including a $ 150 million risk, to support the production of the "Serum" Institute for promising vaccines from the University of "Oxford" and "Novafex". The vaccine manufacturer will be able to provide between 60 and 70 million doses by December 2020, but it will not be available in the market before 2021 after obtaining a license, according to Dr. Suresh Jadav, executive director of the Indian Serum Institute. India has also granted a license to "Dr. Reds Laboratories" to conduct the second phase of clinical trials on the Russian vaccine "Sputnik V" in India. Russia was the first country in the world to register a vaccine against the "Covid-19" virus, less than two months after it was tested in humans.

Dr. Reddy said that 100 people participated in the second phase of the experiments, while 1,400 volunteers are participating in the third phase. Upon obtaining a license from the competent authority in India, the Russian Direct Investment Fund will provide financing for the production of the "Doctor Redes" company for one hundred million doses of the vaccine, according to what the company said last month.

While the early data on the effectiveness of the vaccine produced by the company "Pfizer" around the world, with the involvement of countries such as Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, in the production of doses, India did not do so, as Pfizer did not conclude »After an agreement with any distribution company in India. While the Indian government indicates its willingness to dialogue with the vaccine manufacturer "Pfizer" regarding the provision of the vaccine in India, there are already concerns that the vaccine could be stored at a low temperature, as it should be stored in places with temperatures below 70 degrees Celsius. This could be an issue that hinders large-scale production of the vaccine in India.

$ 7 billion for distribution and logistical support

> The Indian government has allocated about 500 billion rupees, equivalent to 7 billion dollars, to immunize the second largest country in terms of population, according to people familiar with the matter. India will need approximately 610 million glass bottles to fill the "Covid-19" vaccine during the first 6 months as soon as the vaccine becomes available, in addition to the indication of pharmaceutical companies working on the syringes that they have sufficient stocks to meet the demand immediately. There is also an additional capacity to manufacture 930 bottles during the next six months, while some manufacturers are planning to increase production capacity, according to official sources.

Even after the vaccine becomes available in the market, logistical support will be a problem, as India has only 28,000 refrigeration units and about 700 refrigerated trucks (refrigerators) to transport the doses. Nevertheless, given the unprecedented volume of doses of the "Covid-19" vaccine, the government is trying to increase the cold storage units, in addition to receiving assistance in this matter from governmental and private companies. As for doctors and nurses, it is expected that the government and the private sector will have enough workforce to conduct vaccine injections. Within a year, the government is working to provide about 400 million doses of the vaccine as part of its global immunization program. Last week, Rajesh Bhushan, the Indian Minister of Health, stated that the government would use the infrastructure for that program to prevent the disease.


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