Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has said that he is “confident” that the coronavirus vaccine will be ready in the next three to four months.
“I am confident that a COVID-19 vaccine will be ready in the next three-four months. Priority for the vaccine will be designed on the basis of scientific data,” he said while addressing the FICCI FLO webinar on ‘The Shifting Healthcare Paradigm During and Post-Covid’.
“Health care workers and corona warriors will naturally be prioritised followed by elderly and disease-prone people. Very detailed planning is underway for vaccine dissemination. An e-vaccine intelligence platform has been created to discuss the blueprint for the same. Tracking and tracing of the vaccine would be neck-deep once it is available for the public. Hopefully, 2021 should be a better year for all of us,” ANI quoted Vardhan as saying.
He estimated that by July-August, 400-500 million doses will be made available for 25-30 crore people.
“It is natural the vaccine distribution would have to be prioritised. As you know, the healthcare workers, who are corona warriors, will be on priority. Then, people who are above 65 years of age, they have been prioritised, then those from 50-65 years of age have been prioritised. Then those below 50 years who have other diseases,” PTI quoted Vardhan as saying. He added: “It is all being decided by experts with a scientific point of view. We have made a very detailed, meticulous plan on this. What we would have to do in March-April next year, we have started planning for it from now itself.”
One of the leading vaccine candidates in an advance stage of trails is the one being developed by Oxford University in association with AstraZeneca). In India, the Pune-based Serum Institute is carrying out phase-3 trials of the vaccine candidate, named Covishield.
On Thursday, a study published in medical journal Lancet said the vaccine being developed by Oxford has shown a strong immune response in adults in their 60s and 70s. The result was based on the study of 560 healthy adult volunteers, including 240 over 70 years of age, the BBC reported.
Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), recently announced the completion of the enrolment of participants for the phase 3 trials in India.
At present, SII and ICMR are conducting Phase 2/3 clinical trials of Covishield at 15 centres across the country.
“The promising results of the trials so far give confidence that Covishield could be a realistic solution to the deadly pandemic. Covishield is by far the most advanced vaccine in human testing in India. Based on the Phase 2/3 trial results, SII with the help of ICMR will pursue the early availability of this product for India. SII has already manufactured 40 million doses of the vaccine, under the at-risk manufacturing and stockpiling license from DCGI,” SII wrote in a statement.
Covaxin, the indigenously-developed vaccine candidate of Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), is also in the phase-3 clinical trials.
Dr Reddy’s Laboratories will also start the combined phase-2 and phase-3 clinical trials of the Russian-made COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, in India. Also, the Biological E Limited has started early phases 1 and 2 human trials of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE said their vaccine candidate has been found to be more than 95 per cent effective after phase 3 trials, while Moderna said its vaccine candidate is 94.5 per cent efficacious.