New Delhi [India], November 30 (ANI): India is looking to be self-reliant in the development and production of COVID-19 vaccine as the world races to develop a vaccine against the disease.
While at least five pharmaceutical companies of India are engaged in vaccine development, Serum Institute in Pune has been chosen for mass production of Covishield vaccine developed by Oxford -Astra Zeneca.
A total of 10 vaccine candidates have been supported by Department of Biotechnology so far at both academia and industry and as on date, five vaccine candidates are in the human trials stage.
A PMO release said the government has initiated a robust COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing and delivery ecosystem to meet the demand.
It said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been personally monitoring the progress of vaccine development in India.
He visited facilities of Zydus in Ahmedabad, Serum Institute in Pune and Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad on Saturday. The Prime Minister held a virtual review of the progress of indigenous vaccine development undertaken by Gennova Biopharma of Pune and Biological E and Dr Reddy's Laboratories in Hyderabad today.
PM Modi asked the companies to come out with their suggestions and ideas regarding the regulatory processes and related matters. He also suggested that they should take extra efforts to inform people in simple language about the vaccine and related matters such as its efficacy. Matters relating to logistics, transport, cold chain in respect of delivering the vaccines were also discussed.
The government has announced a stimulus package of Rs 900 crore for mission COVID Suraksha to promote indigenous vaccine development.
The release said that COVID-19 Vaccine Development Mission with end-to-end focus from preclinical development, through clinical development and manufacturing and regulatory facilitation for deployment, would consolidate all available and funded resources towards accelerated product development.
"The other important objective will be supporting the development of common harmonized protocols, training, data management systems, regulatory submissions, internal and external quality management systems and accreditations," it said.
The release said that the grant will be provided to the Department of Biotechnology for Research and Development of Indian COVID-19 vaccines and ensure that they are fast-tracked for introduction in public health systems, subject to all regulatory clearances.
Ambassadors of 100 countries are scheduled to arrive in Pune on December 4 to visit Serum Institute of India and Gennova Biopharma.
The release said Sweden has already acknowledged India's role as the "pharmacy of the world" and is focusing on expanding bilateral cooperation in the areas of health and life sciences in view of the Coronavirus pandemic.
It said Luxembourg-based company B Systems is partnering with India to produce portable vaccine refrigeration equipment, which will address the issue of vaccine distribution in India.
PM Modi had held a virtual summit with his Luxembourg counterpart Xavier Bettel on November 19 during which stress was laid on intensifying bilateral cooperation. (ANI)