Human trials of four Indian vaccines soon

Human trials of four Indian vaccines soon

File photo

Aditi Tandon

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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