An expert committee headed by NITI Aayog member VK Paul will meet today to consider the logistical and ethical aspects of purchasing and administering a COVID-19 vaccine. This comes in the backdrop of Russia on Tuesday claiming that it has developed the world's first Coronavirus vaccine offering "sustainable immunity" against the Coronavirus. But Russia's Health Ministry said that although clinical trials have not yet been completed, end-stage trials, involving more than 2,000 people, was to start today.
In India, the VK Paul committee on Vaccine Management Committee will engage with all stakeholders, including state governments and vaccine manufacturers, and its mandate includes selecting, their procurement, and delivering suitable vaccines and prioritising groups to administer them.
"It will also look to logistical aspects such as cold chain and inventory, organizing resources for the procuring the vaccine and issues of equity. This group of experts will continue to share with all state governments and vaccine manufacturers in India," said Health Ministry Secretary Rajesh Bhushan at a press briefing on Tuesday.
Three candidate vaccines are in different stages of human clinical trials in India.
Phase 1 and Phase 2 human clinical trials of two of them are underway and have been developed indigenously by Bharat Biotech, in collaboration with the Indian Council for Medical Research, and Zydus Cadila Ltd, are going on.
The Serum Institute of India has been able to conduct phase II and III human clinical trials of the third vaccine candidate developed by the University of Oxford. The Pune-based institute partnered with AstraZeneca for manufacturing it.
The Oxford vaccine is also undergoing a final phase III trial in Brazil.
The Serum Institute said it has entered a new partnership with the International Vaccine Alliance Gavi and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate the manufacture and delivery of up to 100 million doses of vaccines for India and other low- and middle-income countries. (With Agency Inputs)
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