India is making rapid progress in the development of indigenous COVID-19 vaccines. With an increase in the number of COVID-19 positive cases, their success will make access easy and affordable for Indians, says GlobalData, data and analytics company.
Bharat Biotech (in partnership with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)) and Zydus Cadila are leading the race of indigenous vaccine development in India. Both the companies’ vaccines have moved to Phase II following encouraging data from the first part of the Phase-I/II Covaxin trial from Bharat Biotech and positive safety results from the Phase I/II trial of ZyCoV-D from Zydus Cadila.
The top five companies in the global vaccine race are Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer along with Sinovac and Sinopharm from China. Except for AstraZeneca, none of them have initiated trials in India, which is important for approval there.
Serum Institute of India (SII) received the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) nod to conduct the Phase II/III trial of AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine Covishield at 17 Indian hospitals.
Bhavani Nelavelly, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, comments, “India is well-known for its leadership role in global vaccine manufacturing capacity, but now it is crucial for the country to develop a cost-effective indigenous vaccine to fight against the deadly virus. While global companies are already leading the COVID-19 vaccine development race, Indian companies are trying their best to be successful.”
According to the GlobalData Pharma Intelligence Center, there are 13 Indian organisations (including the University of Hyderabad and the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati) working on the COVID-19 vaccine development.
Though SII will start the production and distribution of AstraZeneca’s vaccine across India and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI) partnered nations, following the approval by the regulatory bodies, India still needs indigenous vaccines to make it affordable for the government as well as for the public.
Nelavelly concludes, “The vaccines from the Western countries are expected to be expensive compared to the indigenous vaccines. With the phenomenal infrastructure and robust in-house vaccine manufacturing capacity, India can make billions of doses of vaccines and can distribute them efficiently with a concerted effort.
“There is a possibility that the vaccine may require boosters, as the vaccine might be able to drive the immunity for only a year’s time. Hence, there is an opportunity and scope for multiple indigenous vaccines provided they demonstrate a fair degree of safety and efficacy.”