Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group
New Delhi, Oct 17
The hype created by global drug companies notwithstanding, it is emerging that vaccines may not be possible before March-April 2021.
Highly placed sources who are handling vaccine trials in India told Lokmat on the condition of anonymity that trials on three vaccines were at various stages. The Prime Minister who chaired another meeting on Vaccine management today was told that two vaccines are undergoing phase-II trials while one is at phase-III stage.
The Bharat Biotech-ICMR joint venture drug Covaxin and ZydusCadila are at Phase-II stage and their data is yet to be shared with the regulators. The Covaxin trials are going on at 12 locations in India, the ZydusCadila vaccine trials are being done privately and its data has not been shared.
The Seerum-AstraZenca’s Covidshield is at Phase-III stage and the number of vaccine warriors has also been cut short. Yet the final product will take longer than expected. The Sputnik-V from Russia is yet to commence trails though it has been granted permission. The SinoVac Biotech of China had approached the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) for trials in India. When CDSCO asked the Chinese to share data, the company never came back.
The Indian regulators are very cautious after the WHO disapproved Remdesivir which was termed as a wonder and after it was sold in 100 countries at a hefty price. Of the 26 vaccines undergoing trials at various stages, only seven are at Phase-III stage which is very crucial.
The regulators have relented on fast-tracking of procedures. But they are unwilling to compromise on the efficacy and safety of the vaccine as its effects are felt after a couple of years.
How the Vaccine is made
It is also disclosed that some of the manufacturers including producers in India are making vaccines by killing the Coronavirus itself to make the product. But they are using different methodology.