Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said citizens of India will get a ready to use Covid-19 vaccine by early next year. Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, the health minister’s statement comes at the time when India has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases in the world and has more than 50 lakh cases with the new cases detected almost 1 lakh per day.
He said a group of experts have been working on the vaccine for quite some time and three of the vaccines have cleared the first and second trials and were being prepared for stage 3 trials. After getting clearance from the Drug Controller General of India, two indigenous vaccines from Zydus Cadila and Bharat Biotech are due to start the Stage 3 trials soon, Vardhan said.
Vardhan said the country had come a long way from earlier this year when TV channels reported that there was a shortage of PPE kits, testing kits, and masks; there were hundreds of labs across the country now, and no state was being discriminated against. He added that when the pandemic broke out, even advanced countries like the US were trying to learn about it.
The minister said migrant workers faced difficulties, but the government tried to provide them all facilities and said 64 lakh were provided train and buses.
Meanwhile, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Limited, a global pharmaceutical company from India, have agreed to cooperate on clinical trials and distribution of Sputnik V vaccine in India. Sputnik V was developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, along with the RDIF and registered on August 11.
On Thursday, the total coronavirus cases in the country went up to 51,18,254 including 10,09,976 active cases, 40,25,080 cured/discharged/migrated and 83,198 deaths, according to Union Health Ministry data.