The world is looking at India for the Covid-19 vaccine.

The world is looking at India for the Covid-19 vaccine.
27 Apr 2020

The world is looking at India and hope for the vaccine against the deadly virus Covid-19. Now half a dozen Indian firms are developing vaccines against the virus that causes Covid-19. India is counted number one among the largest manufacturers of generic drugs and vaccines in the world. India is known as the major vaccine maker and a host of smaller ones, making doses against polio, meningitis, pneumonia, rotavirus, BCG, measles, mumps, and rubella, among other diseases.

The 53-year-old company, Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine maker makes 1.5 billion doses every year, mainly from its two plants in the western city of Pune. The company at present has around 7,000 people at work in the country and abroad, Netherlands, and the Czech Republic. The company supplies some of the cheapest 20 vaccines in the world to 165 countries. 80% of its vaccines are exported.

Serum Institute of India has also partnered to mass-produce a vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and backed by the UK government. A genetically engineered chimpanzee virus would form the basis for the new vaccine. Human clinical trials began in Oxford on Thursday and hope to make at least a million doses by September to end this pandemic and to lead us out of global lockdown.

Besides, Serum Institute of India, the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech that entered a partnership with the University of Wisconsin Madison and US-based firm FluGen to make almost 300 million doses of a vaccine for global distribution. Zydus Cadilla, Biological E, Indian Immunologicals, and Mynvax are also in the production line. At the same time, experts say that the vaccine for the pandemic should not be expected soon, but may happen in two years or less.

Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State said last week that both the countries were working together to develop the vaccines against the coronavirus. In fact, the countries running a recognised joint vaccine development programme for more than three decades. Their joint effort on stopping dengue, enteric diseases, influenza, and TB had widely applauded. Trials of a dengue vaccine are planned to be launched in the near future. (Courtesy: BBC)

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