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COVID-19: WHO Chief Scientist Says India Exhibited Capacity to Innovate, Manufacture Vaccines

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India has shown the capacity to be a global-scale manufacturer and also an innovator when it comes to coronavirus vaccines, World Health Organization’s Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said Monday.

Speaking at the Global Bio-India 2021, she opined that the fight against the coronavirus pandemic is at a very critical junction now as cases have suddenly gone up, particularly in Europe and America.

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She noted many uncertainties now, especially on the different variants of the virus.

“India has shown the capacity to be a manufacturer at the global scale and also be an innovator when it came to vaccine development. There is a huge amount of scope to study the impact of vaccines, which needs to be thought-through by a very coordinated approach,” she said.

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As many as 30 vaccines are at different stages of development in India. Covaxin, developed indigenously by Biotech, and Covishield, developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca and being manufactured at Serum Institute of India, are already in use in the country.

The vaccine candidates of Zydus Cadila and Russia’s Sputnik V are in phase 3 of the human clinical trials. Sputnik V, which is being manufactured by Reddy’s Laboratories in India, has initiated the process for Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) with the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).

India has supplied vaccines to several nations while many others have also placed orders for the same.

Vinod Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog lauded the efforts of scientific community and said the speed with which the solutions during the pandemic appeared was phenomenal.

The stories of development of vaccines are amazing examples of how time can be compressed and scientific mobilisation can be initiated. The intent to have a global footprint in the manufacturing sector when it came to COVID-19 vaccine was path-breaking and something to be proud of.

We have realised that we have the potential to deliver in a speedy manner, like we did for vaccine distribution, he said.

The three-day Global Bio-India 2021 was inaugurated Monday by Harsh Vardhan, the minister of Science and Technology, and Health and Family Welfare.

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