About 30 COVID-19 vaccine candidates under development, says Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan

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A high level expert group is looking into matters related to vaccine distribution and immunisation

The government has said that 30 COVID-19 vaccine candidates are under development, by both industry and academia across the country.

These vaccines are in different stages of pre-clinical and clinical development of which three candidates are in advanced stage of Phase I, II and III trials and four are in advanced pre-clinical development stage, Union Minister of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences Dr Harsh Vardhan said in a written reply in Lok Sabha on Friday.

Support is also being extended for development of vaccine associated research resources, establishment of clinical trial sites and notifying enabling regulatory guidelines, he said

A high level expert group is looking into matters related to vaccine distribution and immunisation.

The distribution and immunisation of the coronavirus vaccine are subject to availability. Once available, the Corona virus vaccine distribution follows the same route as for the current practice of vaccines distribution under Universal Immunisation Program (UIP).

On Thursday, the minister said in Parliament that a COVID-19 vaccine might be available by the first quarter of next year.

The minister said that five national COVID-19 bio-repositories have been established by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).

This is a part of the network of 16 COVID-19 bio-repositories established in the country by Department of Biotechnology, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

The repositories are collecting clinical and viral samples. So far, 44,452 clinical samples and 17 viral isolates have been collected which are accessible to researchers and industry for developing diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.

The pan India 1000 SARS-CoV-2 RNA genome sequencing has been successfully completed and announced last month by the Department of Biotechnology.

Image credit: Manorama

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