Coronavirus crisis puts vaccine trials on the fast track.


The deadly health crisis caused by covid-19 has set off a frenetic race against time to develop a vaccine, with progress being made way faster than any previous effort.

While 83 companies across the globe are vying to develop a vaccine, six have already advanced to human trials or clinical evaluation stage, with 77 in pre-clinical evaluation phase as on 23 April, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) database

That’s an unprecedented pace. The mumps vaccine—the fastest to ever reach the markets—took four years to licensing in 1967, according to National Geographic.

Zydus Cadila, Serum Institute of India, Biological E, Bharat Biotech, Indian Immunologicals Ltd, and Mynvax are among local companies trying to develop a vaccine for covid-19.

In line with the swift global response to develop a vaccine for covid-19, the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) has tweaked its Clinical Trial Rules 2019, saying it will waive off clinical trials on people in India and approve any drug or vaccine for covid-19 that is approved in any other country.

However, according to the DGCI regulations, newer drugs can only be approved, from the US, Japan, Australia, Canada and European Union, if they have included patients of Indian origin in their studies.

“Due to an emergency situation arising out of the pandemic, if any drug or vaccine gets approved by any drug regulatory agency of any country for covid-19 after ensuring its safety and efficacy, we will approve it through accelerated mechanism by waving off clinical trials on Indian population on a case-by-case basis," a senior official in DGCI said on condition of anonymity.

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