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    India developing seven more COVID vaccines, says health minister

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    Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday said that India is working to develop seven more COVID-19 vaccines. This would be in addition to Covishield AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and Covaxin India’s first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR already being used to inoculate frontline workers. Vardhan said India does not have any immediate plans to make vaccines available in open market.

    At least seven Indian pharma companies are working to develop a vaccine against coronavirus as they join global efforts to find a preventive to check the spread of the deadly virus that has already infected more than 14 million globally.

    Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute, Zydus Cadila, Panacea Biotec, Indian Immunologicals, Mynvax and Biological E are among the domestic pharma firms working on the coronavirus vaccines in India.

    Biological E Ltd has entered into an agreement with Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, part of pharma major Johnson & Johnson, for creation and enhancement of production capabilities to manufacture the latter’s COVID-19 vaccine.

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

    Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL) had kickstarted research along with an Australian University to develop a vaccine for coronavirus (COVID-19). They will use the latest codon de-optimisation technology to develop the vaccine. In the past, the technology has been used to reduce the virulence of several RNA viruses including Zika virus.

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