Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday began his three-city visit to review coronavirus vaccine development work by going to pharma major Zydus Cadila's manufacturing facility near Ahmedabad.
Wearing a PPE kit, Modi reviewed the vaccine development process at the Zydus Cadila research centre in Changodar industrial area, over 20 km from Ahmedabad.
After his arrival at Ahmedabad airport from Delhi shortly after 9 am, Modi flew to the Zydus Cadila plant and held discussions with the promoters and executives of the company, an official said.
Modi spent over an hour at the plant, before leaving for the airport, from where will fly to Hyderabad.
Zydus Cadila has announced that the phase-I clinical trial of its vaccine candidate ZyCoV-D is over and it has commenced phase-II clinical trials from August.
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.
In Hyderabad, Modi is scheduled to visit vaccine maker Bharat Biotech's facility.
After landing at Hakimpet Air Force station, Modi will reach Bharat Biotech's facility at Genome Valley at 1.30 pm. The facility is around 50 km from Hyderabad.
Bharat Biotech's Covaxin is undergoing phase-3 trials.
After his hour-long visit to the facility, the PM will proceed to Pune, where he will visit the Serum Institute of India (SII), which has partnered with global pharma giant AstraZeneca and the Oxford University for the vaccine.
The prime minister will reach Serum Institute campus around 4.30 pm, an official said.
Modi's hour-long visit to SII is aimed at reviewing the status of the vaccine candidate for coronavirus infection and to know about its launch, production and distribution mechanism, he said.The PM will fly back to Delhi in the evening, the official said.