[Editorial Analysis] Promise and delivery: On India’s first COVID-19 vaccine

Mains Paper 2: Health
Prelims level: COVAXIN
Mains level: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health


• India’s first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine (COVAXIN) developed by a Hyderabad-based company in collaboration with the ICMR is all set to be tested on humans.

• The permission from the Drugs Controller General of India to carry out phase-1 and phase-2 human clinical trials was based on the safety and efficacy results of studies on mice, rats and rabbits.

• The phase-1 trial of the candidate vaccine using inactivated (killed) novel coronavirus will begin this month to test its safety.

• The virus used for developing the vaccine was isolated by the Pune-based National Institute of Virology from samples collected in India.

• Meanwhile, a Pune-based company is all set to manufacture two-three million doses of the University of Oxford vaccine if the results of its phase-1 clinical trial are encouraging.

• Results will be expected in the first week of July.


• Millions of doses more will be manufactured if the results of the combined phase-2/3 trial are reassuring.

• In addition, the two companies are collaborating with universities and a biotechnology company to develop three more vaccines.

• With the pandemic raging and no antivirals available to treat severe COVID-19 patients, a vaccine that is even partially effective and protects for about a year will be in demand.

• Thus, an indigenous vaccine will mean guaranteed availability for Indians, while a significant percentage of the Oxford vaccine manufactured in India will be earmarked for local consumption.

• This is one reason why many countries are earnestly attempting to develop a vaccine.

• According to WHO, 17 candidate vaccines are in various stages of a human clinical trial, while 132 are in a pre-clinical trial stage.


• On June 25, China’s CanSino Biologics COVID-19 vaccine, became the first off the block when it was approved for use by the military for a period of one year.

• The phase-1 and phase-2 trials found the vaccine to be safe with a “potential to protect” against the disease.

• It is unclear if the vaccination will be optional or mandatory.

• This is not the first time that countries have made vaccines under development available to the military even before the completion of the trial.

• There is growing concern that speeding up vaccine development by bypassing certain crucial stages of the trial process may prove counterproductive.

• In a poll in the U.S., one-third have said they would not get immunised against COVID-19 even if a vaccine was widely available and affordable.

• While many expect science to find a quick-fix, experts envisage 12-18 months to get a vaccine commercialised, if at all.

• But that timeline is already seen as aggressive.

• If scientists develop a safe, efficacious vaccine soon, public trust in science could grow substantially but there would be serious consequences if it fails, particularly on the safety aspect.

• Regulatory agencies have a responsibility to ensure COVID-19 vaccines deliver what they promise.


• Even partially effective vaccines will be in demand, but the safety aspect is paramount.


Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, consider the following statements:

1. The Ordinance amends the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 as applicable to Cooperative Banks.

2. The amendments also apply to Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) or co-operative societies.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: A

Mains Questions:

Q.1) What is Vaccine? How the vaccine is developed? How regulators can ensure that vaccine can be safe, efficacious?

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