Tuesday, October 20, 2020
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Russian and Indian COVID-19 vaccines: An Overview

As the whole world unites for a potential vaccine to fight coronavirus, Russia claims to have produced the first vaccine. Amidst speculations of its efficacy, let’s look at how the Indian COVID-19 vaccines shine out as a ray of hope.

As the number of active COVID-19 cases rises worldwide, Russia claims to have found the solution. Earlier this week, Russia registered the vaccine called ‘Sputnik V’, claiming that it passed through bio-safety tests. Countries around the world aren’t convinced and sent mixed responses to the Russians, some being highly skeptical of its efficacy, the testing phase of different Indian COVID-19 vaccines has already been initiated inshore and has become a subject of interest for most countries.

Indian pharma giants are working hard to find a solution. The efforts of various pharma companies worldwide and constant updates from companies in India come out as a respite to millions. 

India’s manufacturing capabilities is going to be very important. We have made it clear that all tests on vaccines will have to meet regulatory standards and include all ethical review and strong data monitoring and safety boards -Dr. Anthony Fauci.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced $150 million towards helping the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) accelerate the manufacturing of vaccines. The University of Oxford-AstraZeneca is currently developing the vaccine. SII has the right to supply and manufacture the vaccine once all regulations have been approved. The company also entered into an agreement with America vaccine developer Novavax Inc. claiming rights at manufacturing, supplying, and commercialization of the NVX-CoV2373 vaccine. Serum Institute also announced to make available the vaccine at Rs 225 a dose.

Adding to the list of Indian COVID-19 vaccines is Bharat BioTech’s Covaxin developed in collaboration with the National Institute of Virology and the ICMR. The vaccine has completed its phase 1 study in India and has already begun its phase 2 study in various countries. According to reports, officials observed positive responses on around 3000 volunteers from all around the country. 

Meanwhile, pharma giant Zydus Cadila recently declared that its COVID-19 vaccine ZyCoV-D was found to be safe and well-tolerated in early-stage human trials. The company has now started the mid-stage trial of its vaccine and plans to complete late-stage trials by February or March 2021. Zydus is also one of the few companies with licensing agreements with US-based Gilead Sciences to produce the anti-viral redeliver, which has been approved as an emergency treatment to fight the pandemic. 

Another company that makes it to the list of potential Indian COVID-19 vaccines is IISc incubated Mynvax. Mynvax received funding and support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a series of recombinant subunit vaccines for SARS-CoV-2. Mynvax also received funding from the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) to scale up the process. They have already successfully developed several candidate immunogens and have completed initial trials.

We are working on multiple new molecules for which we will have animal data in the next few months. These are sub unit-based vaccines. It requires testing in animals before we go to humans. We also need to look at efficacy, cost of production and scalability – said Raghavan Varadarajan, co-founder of Mynvax 

People are keeping an eye on the developments for the coronavirus vaccine for a long time. Russia seems to be winning the race, but it might take some time to make it available for other countries. India is no different here. The usual requirement of a vaccine includes late-phase human trials to test the efficacy that may play a key role in its availability in India. 

Russia has cleared regulatory approvals as the world waits anxiously for a vaccine to fight coronavirus. On the other hand, Indian companies have put forward their foot and partnered with foreign universities to help accelerate production and avail their manufacturing niche to provide a reliable solution as soon as possible. With more than a dozen companies racing against each other to provide a feasible and trustworthy vaccine, consumers worldwide are keeping an eye on the country’s pharmaceutical industry.

Shahzer Rahman
Shahzer Rahman
Shahzer is an explorer at heart. His mantra for leading a good life is “being out there, hunting for opportunities.” He is a mechanical engineer by profession and his interest lies in poetry and film editing.
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