India / Govt launches web portal on India's COVID-19 vaccine efforts

Livemint : Sep 28, 2020, 04:46 PM
New Delhi: Amid the race to develop a potential Covid-19 vaccine in India, the Indian government today launched an online portal for information and updates on the various Covid-19 vaccine being produced in the country, announced Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan.

The online portal available on the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) site, will be a repository for all information related to vaccine development in India. You can access the website from here.

"Everyone will be able to go online to that portal a look-up all contemporary research-development and clinical trials related information about such vaccinations," said Vardhan during the press conference on ICMR's 100-year timeline of history.

Earlier reports suggest that in the first stage, the ICMR vaccine portal will reflect the information on Covid-19 vaccine development in India. However, with time, the web portal will be strengthened with data available for all the vaccines used to prevent various diseases.

"The ICMR has always attempted to address itself to the growing demands of scientific advances in biomedical research on the one hand, and to the need of finding practical solutions to the health problems of the country, on the other," the portal reads.

Vardhan during the press conference hailed ICMR's efforts and contributions in the field of science. "It's an honour for me to release 100-year timeline of history of ICMR within its premises today. The contribution of scientists associated with it is commemorated and serves as an inspiration to upcoming scientists," the minister added.

India is currently on different phases of clinical trials of three Covid-19 vaccines.

The phase-III or the last stage of clinical trial of the Covid-19 vaccine 'Covishield', being developed by Oxford University, and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), began on Monday at the state-run Sassoon General Hospital in Pune, Maharashtra on Monday, a senior official said.

The Covishield vaccine will be administered as a dose to 150 to 200 volunteers, official had said.

India’s indigenous vaccine developers Bharat Biotech International Ltd. are at the second-phase human trial stage and Zydus Cadila is in the process to receive approvals for conducting third-phase clinical trials.

Currently, the Uttar Pradesh government announced that phase-3 trial of the coronavirus vaccine 'COVAXIN' will start in Lucknow and Gorakhpur from October.

Moreover, India's vaccine manufacturer recently announced a licensing agreement with Washington University School of Medicine in the US for a single dose intranasal vaccine for covid-19 based on a novel chimpanzee adenovirus. The pact gives the Hyderabad-based vaccine developer the rights to distribute the vaccine in all markets except the US, Japan and Europe, reported Mint.

Under the pact, phase I trials will take place in the university’s Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit, while Bharat Biotech will undertake further stages of clinical trials in India and large-scale manufacturing of the vaccine at its facility in Genome Valley, Hyderabad.

SII has also started manufacturing Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by Codagenix Inc, the US biotech said in a statement.

Dubbed as CDX-005, the coronavirus vaccine candidate has completed pre-clinical animal studies. The drug maker aims to initiate phase I clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine in the United Kingdom by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, Serum's CEO Adar Poonawalla calling the distribution of a Covid-19 vaccine to 1.3 billion population of India, "concerning challenge" said that the government may need ₹80,000 crore over the next one year for distribution of covid-19 vaccine to every person in India.