As India gears up for its Covid-19 inoculation drive against the pandemic, Serum Institute of India’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech International Ltd’s Covaxin which are the frontrunners are expected to roll out the Covid-19 vaccine as early as next month. US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has also sought emergency use authorisation for its coronavirus vaccine. The Union Health Ministry has said that a vaccine against the novel coronavirus is expected to be available in a few weeks’ time. The applications of Pfizer, SII, and Bharat Biotech are being reviewed by the subject expert committee (SEC).
Coronavirus vaccines in India: What we know so far
1) Pfizer: The Indian arm of the US drug firm had sought an emergency use approval for its Covid-19 vaccine from the central drug regulator days back after it started its first ever vaccination drive in Britain.
2) Covishield: Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) has already applied for emergency use authorisation of the Covishield, which is being developed by Oxford University-AstraZeneca and SII.
3) Covaxin: Earlier this month, Bharat Biotech sought an emergency use approval from the Drug Controller General of India for its indigenously made Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin. Covaxin is being indigenously developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research.
4) Zydus Cadila: Zydus’s shot Cadila’s ZyCoV-D has completed its second phase of trials and if all goes well, the vaccine is expected to be available as early as April. Zydus Cadila claims its vaccine is using a DNA plasmid platform, a relatively new technology.
5) Sputnik V: Russia’s Sputnik V, which is conducting a phase 2 and 3 bridging study in India has been developed by the Gamaleya National Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology and Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). The vaccine is expected to be available as early as April, if clinical trials are successful and regulatory processes are completed smoothly. Dr Reddy’s Laboratories and Sputnik LLC are jointly conducting the human trials in India.
6) Biological E and Gennova: These may take longer as Biological E has started phase 1 and 2 human trials last month while Gennova received approval for human trials only last week.
Who will get Covid inoculation first?
The coronavirus vaccine will be offered first to healthcare workers, frontline workers and to persons above 60 years of age, followed by persons younger than 50 years of age with associated comorbidities, and finally to the remaining population based on the vaccine availability.