US Secretary of State Mike Ponpio said a fortnight ago that India and the United States are developing a vaccine for the corona virus.
No one should be surprised at Ponpio's statement.
The United States and India have been running a joint vaccine development program for the last three decades. This program has international recognition.
The two countries have worked together on prevention of dengue, intestinal diseases, influenza and TV. Both countries are going to do trials of dengue vaccine in the near future.
India is counted among the largest manufacturers of generic drugs and vaccines in the world.
India is the world's vaccine hub
There are more than half a dozen large companies making vaccines in the country. Apart from this, many small companies also make vaccines. These companies are polio, meningitis, pneumonia, rotavirus, BCG. Manufactures vaccines for diseases including measles, mumps and rubella.
Half a dozen Indian firms are involved in making Corona vaccine
One of these companies is Serum Institute of India. It is the largest vaccine company in the world in terms of vaccine dosage production and worldwide sales.
The 53-year-old company produces 1.5 billion doses every year. The company has two large plants in Pune. However, the company also has small plants in the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. About 7,000 people work in this company.
The company supplies some 20 types of vaccines to 165 countries. About 80% of the total vaccine produced is exported. They cost an average of 50 cents per dose. In this way it is among some of the cheapest vaccine companies in the world.
What is a live attenuated vaccine?Now the company has tied up with Kodagenics. Kodagenics is an American biotech company. Together, the two companies will create a 'live attenuated' vaccine (a vaccine that is used to weaken the virus to produce a vaccine in the lab, although the virus is alive.). Around 80 companies from all over the world are engaged in this work.
This vaccine is prepared by destroying its harmful properties. However, the virus is kept alive. Due to poor pathogen, they cause very mild disease because they are used in controlled environment in laboratories.
"We are going to do a trial on the vaccine animals in April," said Adhar Poonawala, Chief Executive Officer, Serum Institute of India. By September, we will be in a position to start trials on humans.
Vaccine will be produced on a large scale
Poonawalla's company has also signed up for mass production of a vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford with the support of the UK government.
Genetically engineered chimpanzee virus will be the basis of this new vaccine. Human clinical trials in Oxford will begin on Thursday. If all goes well, it is expected that at least one million doses of this vaccine will be ready by September.
"It is clear that by the end of this year, the whole world is going to need millions of doses so that we can end the epidemic," Adrian Hill, head professor at Oxford's Jenner Institute, told BBC Health and Science correspondent James Gallagher. And get out of lockdown ''
On this front, Indian vaccine companies are seen far ahead of others. Poonawala's company alone can make 40 to 50 crore doses.
Indian companies at the forefront of production
He said, "We have a huge capacity because we have invested money in it."
Bharat Biotech of Hyderabad has announced a tie-up with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the American firm Fluegen. Through this agreement, these companies will create 300 million doses to be distributed worldwide.
Zydus Cadila is working on two vaccines. On the other hand, Biological E, Indian Immunologicals and Minwax are also developing a vaccine each.
In addition, four-five more domestic companies are in the initial stage of developing the vaccine.
Entrepreneurs and Pharma companies are entitled for this creditSaumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist of the World Health Organization (WHO), said, "The credit goes to entrepreneurs and pharmaceutical companies who invested money on quality manufacturing and processes." Due to this, production of these vaccines is possible on a large scale. Also, the owners of these companies have the intention of doing something good for the world. They are also running a profitable business and it has the benefit of the common people, them and the whole world. ''
Experts warn that people should not expect any vaccine to be introduced at the moment.
What are the risks of hastiness?
Professor David Nabarro of Global Health at Imperial College, London, says that humans will have to live with the fear of the corona virus in the near future. He says that this is because there is no guarantee for the successful development of the vaccine.
Tim Lehey is a vaccine researcher at the University of Vermont Medical Center. He warns that there is enough reason to worry that the immune response to the corona virus vaccine can also be seen.
The number of infected Kovid-19 in the world has crossed 25 lakhs. Also, the number of those who died due to this has also reached 1,77,000.
In such a situation, one may have to wait for a safe vaccine to be mass produced.
Before every lot is sent to the market, its chemical and biological test will be necessary.
Poonawala says, 'But we still have hope. We hope that we will make a safe and effective vaccine in two years or less.