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Opinion

It is important to have a large basket of candidates for the Covid-19 vaccine: DBT Secy

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It is important to have a large basket of Covid-19 vaccines, as it is really difficult to know which one will be the best among all, said the secretary of the Department of Biotechnology, Renu Swarup on Friday. He said that the vaccines that are being developed indigenously are found 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 will be the best. It is not necessary that the first one is the best, maybe one will come later that will be better, but it is difficult to say now, “he said in a webinar.

There are 30 vaccine candidates being developed in the country. Five vaccine candidates are in different phases of clinical trials in India with the Serum Institute of India conducting the phase 3 trial of the Oxford-Astrazeneca Covid-19 vaccine, while the vaccine developed locally by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the ICMR has already started the phase 3 clinical trial. Another locally developed vaccine by Zydus Cadila also completed the phase-2 clinical trial in the country.

Dr Reddy’s Laboratories and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) announced on Tuesday the start of adaptive phase 2 and 3 clinical trials for the Covid-19 Sputnik V vaccine in India.

Additionally, Biological E. Ltd has begun the first phases 1 and 2 of human trials of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate.

Swarup said that a lot of effort has gone into developing the vaccine, such as building capacity for clinical trials. Emphasizing that developing a vaccine is a complex process, he said a lot of science has gone into making it.

She said the DBT has a committee of experts to track the development related to the Covid-19 vaccine.

The panel, which also has experts from inside and outside the country, meets every two weeks to discuss not only with academic research groups but also with vaccine manufacturers and developers to understand what they need for their development.

Hindustan Times

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