New Delhi, September 18: Nearly 30 COVID-19 vaccine candidates are under development in India, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said in a written reply in Lok Sabha on Friday during the ongoing monsoon session. Out of 30 COVID-19 vaccine candidates, three are in an advanced stage of trials and four are in the advanced pre-clinical development stage, Dr Harsh Vardhan informed the lower house of Parliament. COVID-19 Vaccine Latest News Update: Anti-Coronavirus Vaccines Being Developed in China May Be Ready For Public by November or December, Says Senior Official.

"Nationally, nearly 30 Covid vaccine candidates are under development, by both industry and academia. These vaccines are in different stages of pre-clinical and clinical development of which 3 candidates are in advanced stage of Phase I/II/III trials and 4 are in advanced pre-clinical development stage," Harsh Vardhan said. The minister, however, did not give names of the vaccine candidates in advanced stages of clinical trials.

Harsh Vardhan also said the government is looking into matters related to the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine once it is developed. "A high-level expert group is looking into matters related to vaccine distribution and immunization. The distribution and immunization of the coronavirus vaccine are subject to availability. Once available, the coronavirus vaccine distribution follows the same route as for the current practice of vaccines distribution under Universal Immunization Program (UIP)," he said.

Two indigenous vaccines by Zydus Cadila and Bharat Biotech have completed phase 1 trials. Serum Institute of India (SII) has again commenced the trials of Covishield, developed jointly by the University of Oxford's Jenner Institute's and AstraZeneca, after getting clearance from the Drug Controller General of India. Besides this, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Limited, a global pharmaceutical company headquartered out of India, have agreed to cooperate on clinical trials and distribution of Sputnik V vaccine in India.

Sputnik V, an adenovirus vector-based vaccine, was developed by the Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, along with the Russian Direct Investment Fund and registered on August 11. Earlier this week, Harsh Vardhan said that the coronavirus vaccine will be made available in the country by the start of next year.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Sep 18, 2020 06:11 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website