As many as 30 groups ranging from industries to academics are working on COVID-19 vaccines across the country. Of these, about 20 are making good progress, said the Centre, according to a report by The Hindu Business Line.
Some of these vaccines are expected to go for pre-clinical trials by October and a few others by February 2021, said the report citing officials.
According to NITI Aayog Member (Health) Vinod Paul, around 14 vaccine candidates are running neck-and-neck.
Giving details, Paul said there are eight industry candidates, of which four are ahead of others. There are six candidates from national labs of the Indian Council of Medical Research, Department of Biotechnology, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, of which they are really hopeful of two or three candidates.
Coronavirus LIVE updates
Among the various drugs being tried, antivirals such as Favipiravir and Remdesivir are leading candidates, said Paul.
Also, a phytopharmaceutical drug ACQH and Arbidol are under investigation in a Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) lab, said Paul, adding that, a drug Itolizumab that is used in psoriatic arthritis is also being considered.
Meanwhile, research is underway on whether BCG vaccine and Mycobacterium W can jack up immune systems, said the report.
Also read | Coronavirus may never go away even after a vaccine is developed: Report
K VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser, said the cost of making a COVID-19 vaccine may go up to $2-3 billion as an attempt is being made to hasten this process in one year.
“It takes 10 to 15 years and $200-300 million to make a vaccine, an attempt is being made to hasten this process in one year, which elevates the cost to $2-3 billion,” said VijayRaghavan.Follow our full coverage on COVID-19 here.