How India will play a vital role in developing and manufacturing COVID-19 vaccine?

India is one of the biggest producers of generic drugs and vaccines in the world. It has manufactured major vaccines, for example, made doses against polio, meningitis, pneumonia, rotavirus, BCG, measles, mumps, and rubella, etc.

There are around six Indian companies that are working on coronavirus vaccine.

“While Zydus Cadila is working on two vaccines, Serum Institute, Biological E, Bharat Biotech, Indian Immunologicals, and Mynvax are developing one vaccine each,” said Gagandeep Kang, executive director of the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, Faridabad.

As such Kang named six companies, but WHO has put down only Zydus Cadila and Serum Institute from India as among the worldwide companies which are working on a novel coronavirus vaccine.

Around seventy ‘vaccine candidates’ are being assessed and at the minimum three have progressed to the human clinical trial stage.

Here are some of the major companies which are playing a pivotal role in developing COVID-19 vaccine in India:

  • One of the firms is the Serum Institute of India. It is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer globally. The 53-year-old company makes 1.5 billion doses every year, mainly from the city of Pune in India. Its other plants are in the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. Approximately 7,000 people work for the company.

Mr. Poonawalla’s firm has also collaborated to mass-produce a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford.

The Serum Institute chief told that he has belief in the Oxford team, which was victorious in coming up with a vaccine for the Ebola virus. His company also partnered with them for the malaria vaccine, said Mr. Poonawalla.

Human clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines already began in Oxford. If everything goes fine, researchers hope to develop around a million doses by September this year.

Besides Oxford, his organization also partnered with US firm Codagenix, which, he said, is using a live attenuated virus to produce its vaccine and is doing animal trials with it. “It is a couple of months behind Oxford,” he said.

Making a safe COVID-19 vaccine which can be big produce is going to be a challenging thing.

“The credit must go to entrepreneurs and pharmaceutical companies who invested in quality manufacturing and in processes that made it possible to produce in bulk. The owners of these companies have also had the goal of doing good for the world, while also running a successful business and this model is a win-win for all,” Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Hence, these Indian pharmaceutical companies have a promising beginning of developing novel coronavirus vaccines.

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