Important to have large basket of Covid-19 vaccine candidates: DBT Secy
It is important to have a large basket of Covid-19 vaccines as it is really difficult to know which one is going to be the best among the lot, Department of Biotechnology secretary Renu Swarup said on Friday. She said the vaccines that are being developed indigenously are on different platforms and each has its own benefits and challenges.
“It is important to have a large basket of vaccines as we move forward because we really don’t know which one is going to be the best. It is not necessary that the first one is the best, you may have one coming later which is going to be better but it is difficult to say right now,” she said at a webinar.
There are 30 vaccine candidates which are being developed within the country. Five vaccine candidates are under different phases of clinical trials in India with the Serum Institute of India conducting phase-3 trial of the Oxford-Astrazeneca Covid-19 vaccine, while the indigenously developed vaccine by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the ICMR has already started the phase-3 clinical trial. Another indigenously-developed vaccine by Zydus Cadila has also completed phase -2 clinical trial in the country.
Dr Reddy’s Laboratories and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) on Tuesday announced the start of adaptive phase 2 and 3 clinical trials for Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V in India.
Also, Biological E. Ltd has started early phase 1 and 2 human trials of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate.
Swarup said a lot of effort has gone in the development of the vaccine like building capacity for clinical trials. Stressing that vaccine development is a complex process, she said a lot of science has gone in making it.
She said the DBT has an expert committee to track the development related to Covid-19 vaccine.
The panel, which also has experts from within the country and outside, meet every two weeks to discuss not just with the academic research groups but also the vaccine manufacturers and developers to understand what they need for its development.