Economy

Top vaccine makers brief expert group on progress of Covid-19 vaccine

T.V. Jayan New Delhi | Updated on August 17, 2020

The top-five vaccine manufacturers in the country, on Monday, made presentations before the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) and briefed the group about the progress made so far by their research and development teams for getting the shots ready.

The most promising Covid vaccine candidates undergoing clinical trials in the country are: Covaxin of Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, ZyCoVD of Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila, and the Covid vaccine being manufactured by Serum Institute of India, Pune. While the first two are totally home-grown, the third was designed and developed by an Oxford University-led team, and is being taken to the market by AstraZeneca, the Swedish-British pharma major. Serum Institute will be its major manufacturing partner.

During the one-on-one meeting with the senior officials of the vaccine companiesheld at Yojana Bhavan, the seat of NITI Aayog here, NEGVAC wanted to know from them how many million doses of vaccine could be made available, at what prices, and whether they need any help from the government to ramp up production if their candidate vaccines are found safe and effective in clinical trials.

Among the NEGVAC members physically present at the meeting were: Vinod K Paul, Member, NITI Aayog, and Chairman of NEGVAC; Balram Bhargava, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research; V D Vaghela, Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals; and Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology. Rajesh Bhushan, Health Secretary and co-chair of the expert group, participated in the discussions through video conferencing, sources told BusinessLine.

Apart from these three firms, top executives of Biological E and Gennova Biopharmaceuticals also made presentation at the meeting.

The company officials said to have filled in the NEGVAC with the details of progress they were making on the vaccine front, their production capacity and possible dates of vaccine becoming ready, if the clinical trials are successful.

While addressing the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort on the 74th Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that three vaccines are getting ready for use. He also said once the government gets the go-ahead from scientists, plans are ready for their mass production. A roadmap is already in place to ensure a Covid-19 vaccine reaches everybody in the shortest possible time, the Prime Minister assured people.

Published on August 17, 2020

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