Choubey was responding to a question on whether the government has formulated any road map to introduce vaccines for COVID-19 in the country in the immediate future.
Currently, under the Universal Immunisation Program (UIP), vaccine distribution is based on Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN) system, which is an internet-based digital system to track routine immunisation, vaccine stocks, storage temperature in about 25,000 dedicated cold chain storage points across the country as well as movement of vaccine.
The vaccine is distributed to health facilities and outreach station sites, so as to reach all areas. The eVIN system is regularly monitored by health authorities at state and district level.
"The eVIN system is being enhanced to address the needs for distribution and tracking of COVID-19 vaccine, when it becomes available," the minister said.
Choubey said the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has informed that it has granted test license permission for manufacture of COVID-19 vaccine for preclinical test, examination and analysis to the seven manufacturers in India.
These are SerumInstitute of India in Pune, Cadila Healthcare Ltd., Ahmedabad, Bharat Biotech International Ltd in Hyderabad, Biological E Ltd., Hyderabad, Reliance Life Sciences Pvt Ltd in Mumbai,Aurbindo Pharma Limited in Hyderabad and Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Limited, Pune.
Choubey said the phase-1clinical trials have revealed excellent safety of the two candidate vaccines indigenously developed by BharatBiotech in collaboration with the ICMR and Cadila Healthcare Ltd, and now their immunogenicity testing is in progress. Their phase-2 clinical trials are ongoing.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is facilitating studies related to COVID-19 vaccines. An inactivated whole virion candidate vaccine (BBV152) for SARS-CoV-2 has been developed by Bharat Biotech International Ltd using the virus isolate provided by ICMR-National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune.
"Phase-1 clinical trials along with parallel studies in hamsters and rhesus macaques have been completed and have revealed excellent safety of the candidate vaccine. Immunogenicity testing is in progress. Phase II clinical trials are ongoing," Choubey said.
A DNA vaccine has been developed by Cadila Healthcare Ltd. Pre-clincial toxicity studies were conducted on small animals: mice, rats, rabbits and guinea pigs.
"The vaccine has been found to be safe and immunogenic. Cadila has partnered with ICMR for conduct of parallel pre-clinical studies in rhesus macaques. Phase-1 clinical trials have been completed. The trial has revealed excellent safety of the candidate vaccine. Immunogenicity testing is in progress. Phase II clinical trials are ongoing," he said.
The Serum Institute of India (SII) and ICMR have partnered for clinical development of two global vaccine candidates -- ChAdOx1-S, which is a non- replicating viral vector vaccine developed by University of Oxford/AstraZeneca. This vaccine is undergoing phase-3 clinical trials in Brazil.
Phase-2 and 3 bridging studies have been initiated by the ICMR at 14 clinical trial sites, the minister said.
The ICMR and SII have also partnered for clinical development of a glycoprotein subunit nanoparticle adjuvanted vaccine developed by Novavax from the US. The trial will be initiated in second half of October after the vaccine is manufactured by SII.
The trial is led by ICMR-National AIDS Research Institute (NARI), Pune. Department of Biotechnology (DBT)/Department of Science and Technology (DST) are also supporting more than 30 vaccine candidates which are in different stages of development, Choubey said.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.
As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.
Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.