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COVID-19 vaccines under different trail stages in India, FELUDA test roll-out expected soon: Harsh Vardhan

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New Delhi: Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Sunday (October 11, 2020) informed that COVID-19 vaccines currently are in various stages of phases 1, 2 and 3, the results of which are awaited, he said during an interaction with his social media followers on ‘Sunday Samvad’ platform.

The minister said there are 2-dose and 3-dose vaccines. The vaccine by Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech requires two doses while the Cadila Healthcare vaccine requires three doses. For other vaccines in preclinical stages, the dosing is being tested, he stated.

The minister informed that the government plans to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine by prioritising target groups in the entire population, he clarified that it is anticipated that supplies of COVID-19 vaccines would be available in limited quantities in the beginning.

He said “In a huge country like India, it is critical to prioritize vaccine delivery based on various factors such as per risk of exposure, comorbidity among various population groups, the mortality rate among COVID Cases, and several others.” Harsh Vardhan also added that India is looking at the availability of several different types of vaccines, of which some may be suitable for a particular age group while others may not be.

“The prioritisation of groups for COVID-19 vaccine shall be based on two key considerations: Occupational hazard and risk of exposure to infection, and the risk of developing severe disease and increased mortality,” he said.

On the rollout of the Feluda test in the near future, Harsh Vardhan said that based on tests in over 2,000 patients during the trials at the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) and testing in private labs, the test showed 96% sensitivity and 98% specificity.

Harsh Vardhan added that the Feluda paper strip test for SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis has been developed by CSIR-IGIB and has been approved by the Drug Controller General of India for a commercial launch.

“The kit has already been validated by the Department of Atomic Energy’s National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore. While I cannot put an exact date on the availability, we should expect this test within the next few weeks,”  he said.

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