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PM Modi holds virtual meet with teams involved in developing, manufacturing COVID vaccine

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held a virtual meeting with three teams working on developing and manufacturing COVID-19 vaccine, and urged them to take extra efforts to inform people in simple language about the vaccine and related matters such as its efficacy.

These teams were from Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd, Pune; Biological E Ltd, Hyderabad; and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd, Hyderabad.

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A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said that Modi also asked the companies, represented by these teams, to come out with their suggestions and ideas regarding regulatory processes and related matters.

“The PM advised all the departments concerned to engage with the manufacturers and seek to resolve matters so that the efforts by these companies bear fruit in order to serve the needs of the country and the entire world,” it said.

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The prime minister appreciated the efforts being taken by scientists in these companies to come out with a vaccine solution to tackle COVID-19.

The statement also said that the potential of various platforms for vaccine development was discussed. Matters relating to logistics, transport, cold chain etc. in respect of delivering the vaccines were also discussed, the PMO said.

All the vaccine candidates discussed are at different stages of trials and detailed data and results are expected early next year onwards, it added.

Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd, Pune; Biological E Ltd, Hyderabad; and Dr Reddys Laboratories Ltd, Hyderabad, are involved in vaccine development along with their respective collaborators.

In collaboration with HDT Biotech Corporation, USA, Gennova has developed an mRNA vaccine candidate (HGCO19), with demonstrated safety, immunogenicity, neutralisation antibody activity in the rodent and non-human primate models.

Biological E Limited (BE), a vaccines and pharmaceutical company, had earlier this month initiated a Phase I/II clinical trial of its COVID-19 subunit vaccine candidate in India following approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI).

The company is preparing the vaccine in collaboration with US-based Dynavax Technologies Corporation (Dynavax) and the Baylor College of Medicine.

Dr Reddy’s, a leading pharmaceutical company, has partnered with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) to conduct clinical trials of the Sputnik V vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Institute in Russia.

Modi had on Saturday visited Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune to review the development and manufacturing process of coronavirus vaccines at facilities in these cities.

The prime minister visited the Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad, Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad and the Serum Institute of India in Pune.

The PMO had said that the day-long visit was aimed at getting a first-hand perspective of the preparations, challenges and road map in India’s endeavour to vaccinate its citizens.

At the Zydus Cadila’s manufacturing facility near Ahmedabad, he reviewed the vaccine development process at the company’s research centre.

Zydus Cadila has announced that the phase-I clinical trial of its vaccine candidate ZyCoV-D is over and it has commenced phase-II clinical trials from August.

Modi also visited pharma major Bharat Biotech’s vaccine manufacturing facility in Hyderabad and reviewed the progress of Covaxin, a vaccine candidate being developed by the company.

Finally, he visited the Serum Institute of India, Pune and reviewed the progress of the ‘Covishield’ vaccine being made there.

The total coronavirus cases in India have mounted to 94,31,691 with 38,772 new infections, while the death toll climbed to 1,37,139 after 443 more fatalities were reported, according to Health Ministry data.

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