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COVID-19 vaccine update: 4 candidates in human trial stage, says Centre

Jitendra Singh said Cadila Healthcare Ltd's DNA-based vaccine candidate is in phase three clinical trial and it has submitted the interim data for emergency use authorisation.

July 21, 2021 / 08:26 AM IST
Currently, three vaccines -- Serum Institute of India's Covishield, Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and Russian vaccine Sputnik V -- are being administered in India.

Currently, three vaccines -- Serum Institute of India's Covishield, Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and Russian vaccine Sputnik V -- are being administered in India.

Giving updates on five potential COVID-19 vaccines, Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh on July 20 said that four candidates are currently in different stages of human trials. He said that another one, developed by Genique Life Sciences, is in the advanced pre-clinical stage.

In a written response to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Singh said Cadila Healthcare Ltd.'s DNA-based vaccine candidate is in phase three clinical trial and it has submitted the interim data for emergency use authorisation.

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While Biological E Ltd.'s vaccine candidate and Bharat Biotech International Ltd.'s adeno intranasal vaccine candidate are in phase three clinical trials, Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd.'s mRNA-vaccine candidate is in phase one clinical trial, Singh said.

Gurgaon-based Genique Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd.'s vaccine candidate is in the advanced pre-clinical stage, the union minister said.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

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.

How many types of vaccines are there?

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.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

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.

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Currently, three vaccines -- Serum Institute of India's (SII) Covishield, Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and Russian vaccine Sputnik V -- are being administered in India.

Read | No deaths due to lack of oxygen specifically reported by states, UTs during second COVID wave: Centre

Meanwhile, during a discussion on the health crisis and the vaccination policy in Rajya Sabha on July 20, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said that India may become the first country in the world to develop a DNA-based vaccine.

"Cadila has completed third phase trial of its DNA vaccine and has applied for emergency use authorisation before DCGI (Drugs Controller General of India). Our expert team is looking into it. When this will come in the market, India will be the only country where scientists have developed a DNA vaccine," Mandaviya said.

The minister also said Biological E is conducting the third phase trial of its vaccine and it is expected to make 7.5 crore doses available in the market by September-October.

"Zydus Cadila and Bharat Biotech have started trials on children. I expect their trials to be successful," he said.

Click here for Moneycontrol's full coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jul 21, 2021 08:26 am

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