Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday said that at least four of the 14 candidate vaccines for novel coronavirus in the country may enter the clinical trial stage very soon.
In a social media interaction with BJP leader G.V.L. Narasimha Rao, the Minister said within five months, four of the vaccine candidates in the country may enter the clinical trial stage.
Rao asked the Health Minister about the status of the development of the vaccines in the country. The Minister said, “The whole world is trying to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. There are over 100 candidate vaccines which are at different levels of development. The World Health Organisation (WHO) is coordinating the efforts. India is also actively contributing in it. There are 14 candidates in India also which are at different levels…” Vardhan said.
He said the Department of Biotechnology of the Ministry of Science and Technology is helping the academic world and industry in all manners such as giving regulatory clearances, grants or financial support, among other things. “As far as I know, four of our fourteen vaccines will soon be in the clinical trial stage, within 4 to 5 months. All the 14 are right now at the pre-clinical trial stage.”
However, the Minister cautioned that it is too early to expect any vaccine against the disease because there is a long due procedure involved in its development. “It will take minimum one year for the development of any vaccine even if it is developed earliest. Therefore use social distancing, masks and follow hand and physical hygiene — the biggest safeguard against the disease — till any vaccine or cure is found,” said the Minister.