In some positive development, at least seven Indian companies—Zydus Cadila, Serum Institute, Biological E, Bharat Biotech, Indian Immunologicals, Mynvax and Panacea Biotec—are working on coronavirus vaccine and two candidate, Indigenously developed Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN and Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila Healthcare Ltd have received nods from Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for human clinical trials.
More than a dozen COVID-19 vaccines from over 100 candidates globally are currently being tested in humans, and some have shown potential in early-stage trials. However, no vaccine has yet been approved for commercial use. While India is one of the leading vaccine producers and suppliers in the world and it takes a lot of time for a vaccine to pass through stages, trials are being done in a speedy way across the world to meet the surge of the pandemic that has caused widescale destruction.
The number of cases of the coronavirus disease in India is more than 6,25,000 and the country’s death toll is above 18,000.
All you need to know about India’s COVID-19 vaccines
Bharat Biotech had claimed to have successfully developed India’s first COVID-19 vaccine, COVAXIN, and said it has the permission from the drug controller to start human clinical trials. The vaccine is set to be launched by August 15, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had earlier confirmed. This will be the first indigenous coronavirus vaccine being developed by India and is one of the top priority projects which is being monitored at the topmost level of the government, the ICMR stated in a release.
The vaccine is derived from a strain of SARSCoV-z isolated by ICMR- National Institute of Virology, Pune. ICMR and BBIL are jointly working for the preclinical as well as clinical development of this vaccine.
Zydus Cadila Healthcare group said its indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine candidate - ZyCoV-D - has successfully completed pre-clinical phase and has received permission from Indian authorities to conduct human trials. With ZyCoV-D, the Company has successfully established the DNA vaccine platform in the country using non-replicating and non-integrating plasmid carrying the gene of interest making it very safe.
ZyCoV-D, developed at the company's Vaccine Technology Centre in Ahmedabad, showed a "strong immune response" in animal studies, and the antibodies produced were able to completely neutralise the wild type virus, Zydus said in a statement.
Glenmark has become the first pharmaceutical company in India to receive regulatory approval for oral antiviral favipiravir, for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19. The company has received manufacturing and marketing approval from India's drug regulator, making FabiFlu the first oral Favipiravir-approved medication in India for the treatment of COVID-19. Favipiravir is backed by strong clinical evidence showing encouraging results in patients with mild to moderate COVID-19. The antiviral offers broad spectrum RNA virus coverage with clinical improvement noted across age groups 20 to more than 90 years.
Favipiravir can be used in COVID-19 patients with co-morbid conditions such as diabetes and heart disease with mild to moderate COVID 19 symptoms. It offers rapid reduction in viral load within 4 days, and provides faster symptomatic and radiological improvement.
Covifor is the first generic brand of Remdesivir which is indicated for the treatment of Covid-19 patients in adults and children, hospitalised with severe symptoms of the disease. The drug is available in 100 mg vial (injectable). It needs to be administered intravenously in a hospital, or critical care setting, under the supervision of a registered medical practitioner.
Covifor is anticipated to play a significant role in bringing down the mortality rates caused by Covid-19, given its proven positive clinical outcomes, the company added. The drug will be available in 100 mg injectable form which has to be administered intravenously in a hospital setting under the supervision of a healthcare professional. It is not a drug you can take at home. The COVID-19 treatment by Covifor will cost not more than 30,000 per patient. Six dozes of the medicine will be given in this timeframe.
Cipla, an Indian multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, has launched its own antiviral drug named Cipremi for treating COVID-19 patients. The medicine is in the form of lyophilized powder (freeze dry) for injection 100mg. Cipremi, a drug for COVID-19 infection, has been approved for adult and paediartric patients who have been hospitalised. The newly launched drug will be more effective for those who are on oxygen support after falling ill to coronavirus.