India readies Covid-19 vaccines, human trials begin

New Delhi, July 4:

Bharat Biotech International Ltd and Zydus Cadila have got an approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for human clinical trials for their indigenously developed vaccine candidates against Sars-Cov-2, the virus which causes the coronavirus disease.

Bharat Biotech is among seven Indian firms working on Covid-19 vaccines. It was the first to get the regulatory nod to begin phase 1 and phase 2 human trials.

Globally, there are 230-odd programmes looking to create Covid-19 vaccines, with 130 companies being in a reasonably advanced stage. Of this, around 10 have already started clinical trials. In India, over a dozen companies are working on vaccines.

The strains of Sars-CoV-2 that causes Covid-19 was isolated by ICMR-NIV and transferred to Bharat Biotech in May. Scientists have managed to isolate and culture 11 strains that can be used to develop vaccines and aid research.

Meanwhile, Zydus said yesterday that its potential vaccine showed a “strong immune response” in animal studies and the antibodies produced were able to completely neutralize the wild type virus.

It intends to rapidly ramp up the production capacities at “multiple sites and facilities to cater to Indian and global demand.”

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