COVAXIN’ expected to be available by end of 2020 with completion of clinical trials, says Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan

WITH gradual  falling  of mortality rate  due to COVID-19 and improvement in recovery rate, India’s Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan, ENT specialist turned politician, exudes confidence that by the end of the current year effective vaccine will be  developed indigenously Harsh Vardhan on Saturday asserted that India’s first vaccine against the novel coronavirus could be available by end of this year 2020.”One of our COVID-19 vaccine candidates is in the third phase of the clinical trial. We are very confident that a vaccine will be developed by end of this year,” he said while inaugurating an NDRF 10-bedded makeshift hospital at Ghaziabad on the suburb of the National Capital. “I am happy to say that in the eighth month of the battle, India has the best recovery rate of 75 percent. A total of 2.2 million patients have recovered and gone home and another seven lakh are going to be cured very soon. “India started with only one testing laboratory in Pune but it scaled up diagnostic capabilities and strengthened our testing capacity. Now, India has 1500 testing labs for COVID-19 and on Friday we tested over one million samples,” Dr. Vardhan representing India in World Health Organisation as its  Executive Board Chair said. Three COVID-19 vaccine candidates, including two indigenous ones, are in different phases of development in India. The phase-one human clinical trials of the two indigenous COVID-19 vaccine candidates, one developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the ICMR and the other by Zydus Cadila Limited, have been completed and the trials have moved to phase-two, ICMR Director-General Dr Balram Bhargava said recently. The apex health research body, ICMR, is in the process of developing an online vaccine portal which will provide information related to COVID-19 vaccine development in India and abroad  in several regional languages in addition to English.“The aim of creating the website is to provide all information and updates relating to the COVID-19 vaccine development on one platform as all the information in this regard is scattered as of now,” Samiran Panda, head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at the ICMR, told media persons. “The idea behind making the updates available in regional languages is to make sure that every citizen is able to access the information. The portal is likely to be functional by next week,” Panda said. Meanwhile, the  Serum Institute of India, which has partnered with AstraZeneca for manufacturing the COVID-19 vaccine candidate, developed by the University of Oxford, has been permitted for conducting its phase two and three human clinical trials in India. It is likely to start the trials next week. Serum Institute of India (SSI)  has issued a clarification, denying reports that the shot may be launched in 73 days as “completely false and conjectural”. The Pune-based company’s clarification said that the government has granted it permission to only manufacture Covishield and stockpile it for future use, according to news agency ANI. It has also said, according to ANI, that Covishield will be commercialised once trials are proven successful and requisite regulatory approvals are in place. Image  courtesy to SightsInPlus

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