Amid the rising coronavirus COVID-19 cases across the world, scientists are trying their best to develop vaccines against the deadly viral disease that may end the pandemic.
The good news is that some of the companies involved in developing the coronavirus vaccines, including Pfizer and Moderna, have recently announced positive results of their third stage trial. In India too, human clinical trials on different vaccines are going on at a rapid pace but we are yet to receive the interim data of these trials.
How many vaccines are currently undergoing trials in India?
It is to be noted that five vaccine candidates are currently undergoing clinical trials in India. These include vaccines developed by Oxford University – AstraZeneca, Bharat Biotech, Cadila, Biological E – Baylor College of Medicine and Gamaleya Research Institute, Moscow.
Which Indian companies have joined hands with foreign firms to develop COVID-19 vaccines?
Some Indian companies have joined hands with foreign based vaccine developers to develop coronavirus vaccine for the Indian people. For example, Pune-based Serum Institute of India is conducting clinical trials and manufacturing of vaccine, while Dr.Reddy’s Laboratories has inked a deal with to conduct clinical trials and distribution of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.
Serum Institute of India has entered into partnership with Oxford-AstraZeneca, Codagenix and Novavax to manufacture their vaccines.
Hyderabad-based Biological E Ltd., US-based Dynavax Technologies Corporation and US-based Baylor College of Medicine have joined hands to develop COVID-19 vaccine.
Biological E has joined hands with Janssen Pharmaceutical for the latter’s vaccine candidate.
What is progress of clinical trials undergoing in India?
Bharat Biotech Ltd and Indian Council for Medical Research launched phase-III trials of Covaxin on November 16 across 25 centres in India.
SII and ICMR have already registered volunteers for Phase-III Covishield vaccine that was developed by SII after receiving a master seed from Oxford-AstraZenenca. The Phase-III trials of Covishield will involve 1,600 participants.
Ahmedabad-based Cadila Healthcare is currently finishing phase-II trials on over 1,000 volunteers across nine sites while Dr.Reddy’s Lab will soon begin an adaptive Phase-II and III trial of the Sputnik V vaccine developed in Russia. Biological E began Phase-I and II combined trials of its vaccine just a few days back.
Challenges involved in storing of these vaccines
The key challenge in administering the Covid-19 vaccine comprises cold chain systems for storage and then its transportation for distribution. It is necessary to transport the vaccine doses to hospitals and other designated immunisation sites in planes, refrigerated trucks and ice-boxes.
Covishield and Biological E vaccine requires storage at 2-8 degree Celsius temperature, while putnik V, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines require storage at temperatures lower than -18, -20 and -70 degree Celsius during transportation.