Currently, India ranks at number 3 in the list of the highest number of people vaccinated against COVID-19 with successful administration of the first dose to over 58 lakh front line personnel. With merely two approved vaccines for emergency use ie. Oxford’s CoviShield and Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN, official data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare revealed that over 12 states have vaccinated 2 lakh people each. Apart from this, Home Minister Amit Shah recently affirmed that India is set to meet 70% of the world’s vaccine demand through exports.
Exports to 14 countries
Taking cognizance of Serum Institute of India’s (SII) ability to manufacture 5,000 doses of CoviShield per minute, countries from all over the globe have placed orders for its production and export. The beneficiaries include Brazil, Morocco, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Maldives, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Bahrain, Mauritius, Saudi Arabia, and Oman.
Furthermore, Brazil and the US have signed contracts to include COVAXIN – India’s indigenous vaccine candidate – doses in their attempt to fight COVID-19. Officially, Bharat Biotech will provide necessary doses (exact number not revealed) to Precisa Medicamentos (Brazil) and Ocugen Pharmaceuticals (USA).
Experts suggest that India’s massive ability to manufacture and export is almost certain to contribute to the country’s international image and re-establish geographical dominance after the Chinese conflict.
7 new vaccine candidates
Recently, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan stated that India is working on seven new vaccine candidates, out of which one is in Phase 2 and Phase 1 respectively along with three in the trial phase and two in pre-clinical stage.
India’s format of vaccination that focuses on health workers and frontline workers followed by elderly people and the common public has been adopted by nearly 170 countries. However, the global and national needs cannot be met with merely two approved vaccines. Hence, it is imperative for medical researchers and scientists to come through with new candidates by the end of this year.
Currently, Pzifer-BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca, and Bharat Biotech candidates dominate the global vaccine scenario with their approved candidates.