30 groups in India trying to develop COVID-19 vaccines

30 groups in India trying to develop coronavirus vaccines, many working at good pace: Principal Scientific Adviser

Nearly 30 groups in India, ranging from big industry players to individual academics, are trying to develop vaccines to fight coronavirus, Principal Scientific Adviser K VijayRaghavan said on Thursday.

Of these 30, 20 are working at a good pace, he said.

"About 30 groups in India, big industry to individual academics are trying to develop vaccines to fight COVID-19 of which 20 are keeping a good pace," VijayRaghavan said at a media briefing.

Without naming the entity, he said some players are at a pre-clinical stage and may reach the clinical stage by October.

For latest updates and live news on coronavirus, click here

He said vaccine development currently takes nearly 10 years and costs around USD 200-300 million, but the aim the world over is to find a vaccine for coronavirus in a year.

But this requires a parallel processing, he noted.

"Instead of working on one vaccine and seeing whether it works for a 10-year period, and investing on that, we have to invest in 100 vaccines (development). The world is investing on more than 100 vaccines at the same time," he said, adding that the entire process will now cost USD 2-3 billion.

VijayRaghavan said it is also essential to go past the regulatory process without comprising on quality while finding a vaccine.

Elaborating the work done by the Indian companies and institutions in vaccine development, he said efforts are being made to develop it within the country. On the other hand, Indian companies and institutions have also partnered with entities outside working on the same mission.

He also cautioned that the logistics of making a vaccine accessible to everyone will be a big challenge as the most vulnerable lot will need it the most.

Designing a new drug, he said, is a "very very big challenge" and just like a vaccine it takes a very long time.

"Most attempts fail and thus you have to try a lot," he said.

He said the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has been working on using different types of drugs for fighting the coronavirus.

VijayRaghavan said the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the AICTE have also embarked on a drug discovery hackathon. 

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox