Coronavirus | COVID vaccine likely in early 2021, says Harsh Vardhan

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday said the first vaccine for COVID-19 is likely to be available in the first quarter of 2021.

“Research to develop a vaccine is being done expeditiously. There are at least three viable such vaccine candidates that are in the phase of clinical trials right now in the country. We’re hopeful that within 1st quarter of 2021 it will be available,” Dr. Vardhan was quoted as saying by the news agency ANI.

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The Minister was speaking at the launch of a dedicated online vaccine portal by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) that details research studies, COVID-19 vaccine development in India as well as abroad and a history of vaccine development in India.

Commenting on the launch of the portal, Dr. Vardhan said, “ICMR has always been at the forefront of health research in the country and is now leading the country in tackling the unprecedented pandemic through scientific rigour and innovation. To disseminate the vaccine-related information, the exclusive portal will be helpful in creating awareness among the masses. I hope all query of common people on the vaccine development process would be addressed through this portal.”

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The three leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates in India — Covishield, Covaxin and ZyCov-D — are mentioned in the portal with information on the underlying technology used to make them, the trials that have so far been completed and current progress on the trials.

A section on international vaccine candidates being researched leads to a link on the World Health Organisation website. There are links to the research publications which inform on how vaccine trials in India are conducted and what the studies so far show.

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The portal also has information on vaccines for the Human Papilloma Virus, Shigella, hepatitis, cholera and typhoid. A section on the use of BCG — a vaccine for childhood tuberculosis — for COVID-19, links to an opinion paper on the Indian Journal of Medical Research, the ICMR’s in-house medical journal.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 5:47:00 PM |

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