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India


Do 2 Indian drug trials signal beginning of the end of Covid -19

New Delhi, July 5 (UNI) The announcement of COVAXIN by Bharat Biotech and ZyCov-D Vaccine by Zydus Cadila and the subsequent nod given by the Drug Controller General of India CDSCO (The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation) for the conduct of human trials for the vaccines has raised the
question: does this mark the beginning of the end.
More than 140 candidate vaccines are under various stages of development worldwide.
Parallelly Indian institutions have also engaged in R&D for the development of vaccines in India. With the primary scientific inputs coming from institutions like Pune-based ICMR institution National Institute of Virology and Hyderabad-based CSIR institution Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, six Indian companies are working on a vaccine for COVID-19. Along with the two Indian vaccines, COVAXIN and ZyCov-D, the world over, 11 out of 140 vaccine candidates have entered the human trials.
The Covid pandemic has infected more than 1.12 crore people worldwide and left more than 5.3 lakh dead. According to the Ministry of Science and Technology, six Indian companies are working on a COVID-19 vaccine. Along with two Indian vaccines, COVAXIN and ZyCov-D, world over 11 out of 140 vaccine candidates are in human trials," the ministry said.
However, controversy has erupted over a letter by ICMR (Indian Council for Medical Research) askng for a vaccine by August 15 - Independence Day.
Doubts have been expressed whether one of these (the 11 coronavirus vaccines undergoing human trials) are likely to be ready for mass use before 2021.
One of the leading candidates is AZD1222 developed Jenner Institute of University of Oxford and licenced to AstraZeneca British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Cambridge, England. The MRNA-1273 vaccine developed by Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, Washington and taken up for production by the US-based Moderna pharmaceutical is just a step behind. Both these firms have already inked an agreement with Indian manufacturers for production of the COVID vaccines.
A vaccine is a method to artificially inducing the immunological memory. Once the antigens of the nasty pathogen are introduced, the immune system is triggered into developing pairing antibodies and immunological memory.
There are many ways in which one can artificially stroke the immune system to develop antibodies and memory. The bottom line is presenting the antigens of the novel coronavirus to the human immune system. From adenovirus-based live-attenuated virus to recombinant genetic technology is used to develop several types of vaccines. Two among the various possibilities produced in India are inactivated virus vaccine and DNA plasmid vaccine.
How do these vaccines work? We can inactivate a whole virus with heat or formaldehyde (that is 'killed'), yet keep the antigen molecular structures still intact. However, the inactivated virus will not be able to infect or cause disease, as it is no longer functional. The Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN uses the virus isolated from an Indian patient by the National Institute of Virology to develop the inactivated virus vaccine.
In the past, India has emerged as one of the significant vaccine manufacturing hubs. Indian manufacturers account for 60 per cent of vaccine supplies made to UNICEF. The vaccine for novel Coronavirus may be developed anywhere in the world, but without Indian manufacturers involved the production of required quantity is not going to be feasible.
UNI SD 2243
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