'If everything goes well India would get COVID vaccine by year-end'

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Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has said that if everything goes well, India would get a vaccine against the novel coronavirus by the end of this year.

Three COVID-19 vaccine candidates, including two indigenous ones, are in different phases of development in India.

The phase-one human clinical trials of the two indigenous COVID-19 vaccine candidates, one developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR and the other by Zydus Cadila Ltd, have been completed and the trials have moved to phase-two, ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bhargava had said recently.

The Serum Institute of India, which has partnered with AstraZeneca for manufacturing the COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by the University of Oxford has been permitted for conducting its phase two and three human clinical trials in India. It is likely to start the trials next week.

In a tweet in Hindi, Vardhan said on Saturday, “I hope that if everything goes well, India will get a coronavirus vaccine by the end of this year.”

Meanwhile, the apex health research body, ICMR, is in the process of developing an online vaccine portal which will provide information related to COVID-19 vaccine development in India and abroad, with the majority of the updates in several regional languages in addition to English.

The aim of creating the website is to provide all information and updates relating to the COVID-19 vaccine development on one platform as all the information in this regard is scattered as of now, Samiran Panda, Head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at ICMR, told PTI on Saturday.

The idea behind making the updates available in regional languages is to make sure that every citizen is able to access the information. The portal is likely to be functional by next week, Panda said. With a single-day spike of 69,239 infections, India’s COVID-19 caseload mounted to 30,44,940 on Sunday, while the death toll climbed to 56,706 with 912 fatalities being reported in 24 hours, the data updated at 8 am showed.