COVID-19 Update: Where Does India Stand In The Race For Coronavirus Vaccine?

After several trial and errors, three vaccine candidates-Moderna, Pfizer and Sputnik V showed encouraging results. Where does India stand in the race for the COVID vaccine?

Simren Rodrigues

November 18, 2020

Trending News

3 min

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After several trials and errors, three vaccine candidates, Moderna, Pfizer and Sputnik V showed encouraging results in the late-stage trials. The three vaccine candidates claimed efficacy of over 90%. These developments were formed after scientists across the world race to develop a vaccine that will end the novel coronavirus pandemic. As per a report by the World Health Organisation, there are nearly 50 vaccine candidates currently under human trials with 11 of them in phase III that is the last stage of the vaccine research. The question that arises is: who will get the vaccine first? And where does India stand in this race?

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Moderna Inc is the second US pharmaceutical company to release interim data that shows the vaccine positive results in a large, late-stage clinical trial. The biotech firm also said that its vaccine is 94.5% effective. On the other hand, US drugmaker Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech said that their vaccine was more than 90% effective while Russia’s Sputnik V proved to be 92% effective. As per reports, the next data release is likely to come from AstraZeneca Plc with the University of Oxford in November or December.

Also Read | Pfizer says Covid-19 vaccine trial complete, cites shot is 95 per cent effective

How does the testing work?

Companies test their vaccine against a placebo in healthy volunteers. A placebo is typically a saline solution. Later, they check if the rate of COVID-19 infection among those who got the vaccine is significantly lower than those who received the dummy shot. The trails are based on the subjects becoming naturally infected by the virus. So the duration depends on how pervasive the virus is where the trails are being conducted.  As per the reports, each drugmaker targets a specific number of infections to trigger the first analysis of their data. Initially in the trial, the infection rates were low. However, with a surge in the infections around the globe, the participants get infected more quickly.

Also Read | Centre examining all possible storage facilities for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

A factor that can affect the distribution of the vaccine especially in low-income areas with hot climate is their storage and availability. Both the vaccines Moderna and Pfizer require cold storage system of 20-degree Celsius and -75-degree Celsius respectively. Most of the rich nations have already pre-booked huge quantities of the vaccine. However, the left-over stocks are promised to nations such as India, Bangladesh and Mexico.

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