Coronavirus vaccine may hit Indian market by first quarter of 2021, says health minister Harsh Vardhan

Union health minister Harsh Vardhan has said that coronavirus vaccine may hit the Indian market by the first quarter of 2021 if the “test results are satisfactory.”

“It is expected that the trials of India-made vaccines would be completed by the end of this year,” Vardhan told Hindustan Times in an interview. “We will know the efficacy of vaccines by then. The Oxford vaccine produced by Serum Institute of India is already being produced parallelly, so that the time required to market it will be reduced to a larger extent. The other two vaccines may require at least a month more to produce it and introduce in the market in a phased manner. It is expected that if the vaccine trial results are good, we could be ready to use the vaccine by the first quarter of 2021.”

Two homegrown vaccine candidates — Covaxin by Bharat Biotech and ZyCOV-D by Zydus Cadila — have almost finished the phase II clinical trials.

Over a dozen Indian firms have also partnered with companies and institutes — both in India and overseas — to bring a working vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus into markets.

Bharat Biotech, in a partnership with the National Institute of Virology, has concluded phase 1 human trials of their COVAXIN candidate at most of the 12 chosen centres as of 14 August; the multicentre, randomized, double-blind phase 2 trial with 750 volunteers is currently underway.

Zydus Cadila, backed by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), has successfully passed a test of safety (phase 1) of its DNA plasmid ZyCoV-D vaccine candidate in 1,048 volunteers on 5 August 2020. An adaptive Phase 1/2 trial to test for safe dosage and efficiency of the vaccine was started in over 1000 healthy adult volunteers on 6 August.

Zydus said it is hopeful of completing Phase 2 trials for ZyCoV-D by September-October.

Read the detailed report on status of coronavirus vaccines being developed here

Meanwhile, India’s COVID-19 tally zoomed past 29 lakh on Friday, merely a day after it crossed 28 lakh, with a single-day spike of 68,898 infections, while the recoveries have increased to 21,58,946, pushing the recovery rate to over 74 percent, according to the Union health ministry data.

The total cases of coronavirus infections mounted to 29,05,823, while the death toll climbed to 54,849 with 983 new fatalities being reported in a span of 24 hours, the data updated at 8 am showed.

Case fatality rate has declined to 1.89 percent while the recovery rate has risen to 74.30 percent.

There are 6,92,028 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which is 23.82 percent of the total caseload, the data stated.

With inputs from PTI

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