COVID life has become the new normal life and people have started adapting to it. Working people are going to work with their masks on and sanitisers on the side. Markets are partially open while schools and recreational facilities remain shut. Food is being made at home or people are largely ordering in. Shopping is picking up pace but mostly online. Amid the unlocking to provide a boost to economic activity, India has also taken the third spot in the world to have maximum corona cases. Well, the situation is likely to be the same till the time we have a vaccine and people can freely move out without fear.
So what is the status update on vaccine? More than 160 vaccines are currently being developed across the world. 25 candidate vaccines are in one of the three stages of human trials. Another 139 are in pre-clinical evaluation, meaning that they are still being tried out on animals.
Some of these have excited the scientific world more than the others, for the promise that they have shown so far. Two of the promising ones include one being developed by Oxford University along with British-Swedish medicine company AstraZeneca and the other by the US-based biotech company, Moderna.
The Indian company, Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine-maker by the number of doses produced and sold globally, has tied up to produce the Oxford vaccine in India. The vaccine is currently undergoing phase III trials in at least two countries and is about to get into similar late-stage trials in India soon. The vaccine being developed by US-based Moderna Therapeutics was the earliest mover, its phase-I human trials having started as early as middle of March. It has completed phase-I and phase-II trials and has entered phase-III trials. However, this process of testing usually takes several months and they are not expected to hit the market at least before early next year.
Irrespective of which vaccine comes out first, India is likely to gain. India is one of the biggest manufacturers of vaccines in the world and also the biggest consumer because of the sheer size of its population. Many Indian companies including the Serum Institute of India hold over a substantial chunk of the foreign markets. And India is likely to increase its presence more during the current pandemic due to the rising distrust for Chinese companies in several countries, which are our biggest rivals.