Efforts are being ramped up for massive production of vaccines and make them available in the shortest possible time, a top government official said on Wednesday, stressing that India currently has a promising pipeline of four-five COVID-19 vaccine candidates, while three have already been approved for emergency use.
Department of Biotechnology Secretary Renu Swarup said a financial support of Rs 400 crore is being provided to vaccine candidates from Zydus Cadilla, Biological E, Gennova and Bharat Biotech (single-dose intranasal vaccine). Her statement came days after the government widened the vaccination drive to cover everybody above the 18 years of age.
''There are three vaccines in India, which have been approved for Emergency Use Authorisation -- Covishield by Serum Institute of India (SII), Covaxin by Bharat Biotech International Ltd. (BBIL) and the Russian Vaccine, Sputnik-V. Besides these, there is promising pipeline of 4-5 candidates in advanced clinical stages of development,'' Swarup told PTI. DNA Vaccine candidate by Zydus Cadila, protein subunit vaccine candidate by BioE, mRNA vaccine candidate by Gennova, and single dose intranasal vaccine candidate by Bharat Biotech are in advanced stages of clinical trials, she said. ''The Department of Biotechnology has provided technical, advisory and financial support for these vaccine candidates during their early development. Now, under Mission COVID Suraksha, financial support of nearly Rs 400 crore for late stage clinical development of these vaccine candidates is being provided. ''The manufacturers already have existing capacities and can contribute to about 15-20 million doses per month, which can be made available for immunisation, once approved,'' Swarup said. Six Indian firms including Dr Reddy's will collectively produce 70 crore doses per annum of Russian vaccine Sputnik V, she added.
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