Seven Indian pharma players race to develop COVID-19 vaccine

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New Delhi: At least seven Indian pharma companies are working to develop a vaccine against coronavirus as they join global efforts to find a preventive to check the spread of the deadly virus that has already infected more than 14 million globally.

Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute, Zydus Cadila, Panacea Biotec, Indian Immunologicals, Mynvax and Biological E are among the domestic pharma firms working on the coronavirus vaccines in India.

Vaccines normally require years of testing and additional time to produce at scale, but scientists are hoping to develop a coronavirus vaccine within months because of the pandemic.

Bharat Biotech has received approval to conduct phase I and II clinical trial for its vaccine candidate Covaxin that has been developed and manufactured in the company’s facility in Hyderabad.

It last week started human clinical trials. Leading vaccine major Serum Institute of India has said that it is hoping to develop a COVID-19 vaccine by the year-end.

“At present, we are working on the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine which is undergoing phase III clinical trials. In addition to this, we will also start human trials in India in August 2020. Based on the current situation and most recent updates on the clinical trials, we are hoping that the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine will be available towards the end of this year,” Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla said.

The company is also developing a live attenuated vaccine with US-based biotech firm Codagenix, which is undergoing pre-clinical trials, he added.