6 local vaccine candidates identified, 30 groups on job

Grant Boone
May 29, 2020

The government Thursday said there are about 30 groups in India, big industry to individual academics, who are trying to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus.

Vaccine efforts in India were divided into four categories-mRNA (one component of the genetic material of the virus is injected), attenuated (a weak version of the virus), vector backbone and adjuvant vaccines. Some companies in India are at late pre-clinical stage.

Many drugs are being tested around the world for help for Covid-19, however, this is risky since this virus intensifies and causes so many additional health issues especially in older patients already with severe health problems.

Aside from the indigenous efforts, there are global collaborations where either an Indian organisation or the global partner is taking the lead, VijayRaghavan said.

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Of the over 100 vaccine candidates around the world against the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID19), about eight are from India. It is not a rich or poor country's disease, it is everyone's disease. "And that's also being discussed now", he said. Then it's a matter of waiting to see how many in each group become infected with the virus.

Besides, VijayRaghavan said it was important to understand that the "first vaccine" would only be the first vaccine to be ready, and subsequent vaccines may be better-or improvised versions-versions of the first vaccine. But scientists have never created a vaccine so quickly, and there's no guarantee any under development will ultimately work. The most promising vaccine candidates are expected to move into larger tests this summer. They are Social distancing, hand hygiene, surface cleaning, tracking and testing.

Following a long history of partnership, including the announcement on 7 February of an agreement between The Jenner Institute and IRBM's Advent to manufacture ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, Advent has now manufactured its first batch of vaccine in just over one month from receiving the seed stock, whilst ensuring high standards of quality control. "Students will be trained with information on how to do computational drug discovery".

"We are also working to augment local testing capacity and by July we will make 5 lakh test kits through 20 manufacturers locally", said NITI Aayog member VK Paul.

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