Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on September 28 launched an online portal which will have all the relevant data on research development, clinical trials and other information regarding a COVID-19 vaccine.
Those interested in keeping track of the vaccine developments in the country can access the portal at vaccine.icmr.org.in.
"An online portal about Covid-19 vaccine has been launched. Everyone will be able to go online to that portal and look up all contemporary research-development and clinical trials related information. It will also provide information about other vaccinations provided in the country," Vardhan said, according to news agency ANI.
He also said that research to develop a vaccine is being done "expeditiously" and that a vaccine in India will most likely be available by the first quarter of 2021.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
"Research to develop a vaccine is being done expeditiously. There are at least 3 viable such vaccine candidates that are in the phase of clinical trials right now in the country. We’re hopeful that within 1st quarter of 2021 it will be available," Vardhan said.
Vardhan also released a 100-year timeline history of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
"Today's a historic day for ICMR. It's an honour for me to release a 100-year timeline of the history of ICMR within its premises today. The contribution of scientists associated with it is commemorated and serves as an inspiration to upcoming scientists," the health minister said.