India’s coronavirus vaccines ready for human trials as infections top 6 lakh
As India’s Covid-19 tally touched 6,48,315 with the biggest single-day increase of 22,771 cases, as per the latest data from the Union Health Ministry, Bharat Biotech International Ltd and Zydus Cadila have got an approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for human clinical trials for their locally developed vaccine candidates against Sars-Cov-2, the virus which causes the coronavirus disease.
DCGI’s approval for Zydus’ ZyCoV-D comes days after Bharat Biotech got a similar sanction for human trials for its vaccine candidate as Covid-19 cases continue to surge in India .
Zydus said yesterday that its potential vaccine showed a “strong immune response” in animal studies and the antibodies produced were able to completely neutralize the wild type virus.
Bharat Biotech is among seven Indian firms working on Covid-19 vaccines, and is the first to get the regulatory approval to begin phase 1 and phase 2 human trials.
The company said in a statement that the vaccine was developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology (NIV).
On Friday, ICMR said that it is trying to launch the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine on August 15.
The plan was revealed in a letter by ICMR, the country’s topmost medical research body, to 12 institutes where human trials are to be held for Covaxin, ordering them to secure necessary approvals from internal committees by July 7 with a warning that “non-compliance will be viewed very seriously”.
Over a dozen Covid-19 vaccines from over 100 candidates globally are currently under human trialss, and some have shown potential in early-stage trials. However, no vaccine has yet been granted approval for commercial use.
In a related development, more than 11,000 ‘Make In India’ ventilators have been manufactured and dispatched of which 6,154 have been delivered to hospitals across the country, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has said.
According to Dr Harsh Vardhan, his ministry is also providing 1.02 lakh oxygen cylinders across India; of which 72,293 oxygen cylinders have been delivered,” the minister said.
India witnessed 442 deaths in a span of 24 hours, taking the total number of deaths due to the virus to 18,655. The number of recoveries stands at 3,94,227, with the recovery rate improving to 60.80 per cent. There are 2,35,433 active cases of the coronavirus in the country at present. The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases also includes foreigners.
Maharashtra remains the worst affected state with over 1,92,990 infections. The death count due to the virus jumped to 8,376 after 198 new deaths reported on Friday, a health department statement said.
The coronavirus tally in Tamil Nadu, the second worst coronavirus hit state in the country, passed the one lakh-mark on Friday after 4,329 people in the southern state tested positive for the highly infectious virus in a day. With an addition of 64, the state’s death count stood at 1,385, government data said.
India has the fourth-highest number of Covid-19 cases in the world with the number of coronavirus cases worldwide touching 11 million, according to the latest data by the Johns Hopkins University on Saturday. Over 523,613 people have been killed globally due to the infection, according to the data compiled by the university.