Ten Covid-19 vaccines could be available by the middle of next year if they win regulatory approval, but their inventors need patent protection, the head of the global pharmaceutical industry group was quoted as saying on Friday by Reuters.
Vaccines by Pfizer and BioNtech, as well as Moderna and AstraZeneca have shown promising results in large clinical trials, but there is no question of "cutting corners", said Thomas Cueni, director-general of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA).
The news of the high efficacy of four Covid-19 vaccines in the last two weeks has generated hopes at a time when the pandemic has infected more than 93 lakh Indians and killed over 135,000 of them.
While vaccine development usually takes years, the global emergency caused by the coronavirus has greatly expedited the process in the last 12 months. Forty-eight vaccine candidates are in clinical trials, including 11 under phase III. (Under Phase I, the vaccine is usually tried out on 30-50 people to check safety; Phase II involves a larger trial to evaluate immune response while Phase III usually involves tens of thousands of people to examine if a vaccine is really protecting people from the infection.)
Early results from vaccines developed by BioNTech-Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca-Oxford University and Russia’s Sputnik V have shown promises. An Indian vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech is in Phase III trial while a second one from Zydus Cadila is undergoing clinical evaluation. Hyderabad-based Biological Evans will also launch the trial of a vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson.