India’s first homegrown mRNA COVID-19 vaccine currently under final clinical trial stages: Govt

India’s first homegrown mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is currently under final clinical trial stages, the government said on Thursday. Responding to a question at the weekly press conference, NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr V K Paul said a candidate vaccine by Pune-based Gennova Biopharmaceuticals, which is entirely an Indian development, is in final clinical trial stages.

“We hope that it will pass that threshold that it could be used under emergency use and regular use some day,” he said.

The official noted that the vaccine can be stored in normal cold chain conditions and transported, which is a “big thing”.

“So we have a great candidate. They have also tweaked it for Omicron variant that will come forward. We need the mRNA platform because it is a new platform and it has been shown that vaccines developed on these platforms at least for coronavirus have been effective worldwide,” Paul said.

“Having an India vaccine platform is an asset in the wake of COVID-19 and Omicron, but also for other diseases for which we are still hunting for affordable, effective and lasting vaccines, so we treasure this platform and we compliment the company and the group which has gone into it. As a platform, it will be important in the near future and beyond,” he added.

ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said this is another vaccine which really establishes that India is heading towards becoming a vaccine super-power and the fact that these vaccines are going to be available for other diseases.

“… and because such a large proportion has been vaccinated, we are not seeing such a disastrous third surge in terms of hospitalisation and mortality,” he said.

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