Serum Institute of India has signed an agreement with the global drugmaker AstraZeneca to not only conduct human trials on more than 1600 volunteers but has also been tasked with manufacturing about 100 crore doses for the low and middle income countries by the year 2021.
Several global pharma companies producing Covid-19 vaccines have entered into agreements to produce their vaccine doses in India along with conducting human trials in the country. In addition to the foreign vaccine candidates, indigenous pharma players such as Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadila have also started human trials of their own vaccine candidates. At a time when there is fierce competition among several vaccine makers on the global stage, it would be pertinent to understand what the overall scenario related to Covid-19 vaccine remains in the country.
Covishield— jointly developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca
The candidate, which is believed to be the most promising Covid-19 vaccine candidate on the global as well as national stage, has entered phase 2 human trials in India. Serum Institute of India has signed an agreement with the global drugmaker AstraZeneca to not only conduct human trials on more than 1600 volunteers but has also been tasked with manufacturing about 100 crore doses for the low and middle income countries by the year 2021. The phase 2 human trial of the candidate began on August 26 from Pune’s Bharati Vidyapeeth Medical College where two volunteers were administered the vaccine. However, according to the estimates put out by CTRI, the completion of both phase 2 as well as phase 3 trials of the candidate is expected to take up to seven months and end by March 2021.
Significantly, in contrast to the phase 2 human trials of the vaccine in India, the vaccine is already undergoing phase 3 human trials in countries such as the UK, Brazil, and South Africa. About 10,000 volunteers are being administered the vaccine in the human trials phase.
ZyCov-D—developed by Zydus Cadila
The indigenous vaccine candidate developed by Zydus Cadila has started phase 2 human trials after the company said that the phase 1 human trials showed that the vaccine was safe and well-tolerated. The company moved to phase 2 trials on August 6. While the company chairman Pankaj Patel has said that the phase 2 trials would take about three months and end by the end of October, CTRI, on the other hand, has estimated that the trials would take about a year to conclude. If the second phase human trials of the vaccine remain successful then the firm is looking ahead to producing more than 100 million doses of the vaccine.
Covaxin—developed by Bharat Biotech
The indigenous candidate has completed phase 1 human trials and is expected to enter phase 2 of human trials later this week. The company is looking ahead at producing about 300 million vaccine doses of the vaccine if the human trials get successful. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) raked up a controversy early this year when it had asked for the trials of Covaxin to get concluded by August 15 even when the candidate had not entered the first phase of human trials.
RBD protein Covid-19 vaccine—developed by Baylor College of Medicine-Biological E
The Baylor College of Medicine has signed an agreement with Hyderabad-based Biological E to conduct the human trials of the vaccine in India. Post the completion of the trials which are expected to begin by the end of this month or early next month, Biological E could produce up to 1 billion doses of the vaccine.
HGC019—developed by Gennova Biopharmaceuticals-HDT Bio
The vaccine developed by Gennova which is a subsidiary of Emcure Pharmaceuticals is expected to begin the human trials of the vaccine in India in the month of October. The company at the same time is also planning to conduct human trials in other countries like the United States, Brazil and South Africa in collaboration with HDT Bio.