Three vaccine candidates are in different phases of the clinical trial and four COVID-19 vaccines are in the advanced stages of pre-clinical trial in the country, said Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan in the parliament. The government is providing all necessary support for the development of COVID-19 vaccine, he said. During a discussion in Lok Sabha on the pandemic, the Health Minister said, “One hundred and forty-five vaccine candidates across the world are under pre-clinical evaluation, around 35 under clinical trials. In India, we gave all support to 30 vaccine candidates – three of these are in advanced trials of phases 1, 2, and 3. Over four in advanced stages of the pre-clinical trial”.

Government is tracking the progress of candidates tested by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Limited and Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila. Meanwhile, Serum Institute of India (SII), Pune has already struck a deal with AstraZeneca for the production and clinical trials of the UK’s Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

Harsh Vardhan said there are total 17,000 Covid-19 facilities with nearly 1.8 million beds in the country. In addition, there are 13,000 quarantine centres that have 600,000 beds, the Health Minister said. Ministry of health and family welfare has also received Rs 893.93 crore from PM-CARES Fund for the manufacturing of 50,000 made in India ventilators, he said.

Rs 65,000 crore package has been allocated under Atmanirbhar Swasthya Bharat to tackle such pandemic in future, Harsh Vardhan informed. So far, 63.7 million have been tested in the country, which is “probably the highest in the world”, said the Health Minister.