Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 28
India remains on the frontlines of Covid-19 management with four vaccine candidates expected to begin human trials very soon.
Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, the country’s nodal agency for Covid vaccine development, said: “There are at present 14 Indian vaccine candidates at different stages of progress. Four industry-led initiatives are at advanced stages of development and will, hopefully, enter phase I clinical trial stage in next three to six months.”
Phase I clinical trials are small-scale trials to see if the vaccine is safe on humans and what immune response it evokes. Advanced industry-led initiatives include those by Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute of India, Biological E and Gennova Pharmaceuticals.
Swarup said the industry was trying a combination of vaccine platforms, including flu, anti-rabies and RNA platforms. The academic vaccine initiatives involve Translational Health Sciences Institute, Faridabad; IISc, Bengaluru; National Institute of Immunology; Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research; and some IITs.
India is conducting trials to test the efficacy of anti-viral oral drug Favipiravir, plant-based drug ACQH and anti-arthritis medicine Itolizumab. “Trials are also on to see if anti-tuberculosis BCG vaccine can grant immunity against Covid-19,” said VK Paul, Member, Health, NITI Aayog.
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