Coronavirus: Human trial of India vaccine in July

Small bottles labelled with 'Vaccine' stickers stand near a medical syringe in front of displayed 'Coronavirus Covid-19' words in this illustration taken

Once the trial starts, the effectiveness of the vaccine in generating a safe immune response will be assessed in dozens of healthy human volunteers.

"We are proud to announce COVAXIN.The collaboration with ICMR and NIV was instrumental in the development of this vaccine".

Stoffels, who is also vice chairperson of the executive committee of J&J, said the lead vaccine candidate is a non-replicating viral-vector vaccine that contains a piece of DNA that codes for the coronavirus "spike" protein.

The Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials of the CanSino's vaccine candidate showed it has the potential to prevent diseases caused by the coronavirus, which has killed half a million people globally, but its commercial success can not be guaranteed, the company said.

Bharat Biotech is an Indian Biotechnology company, headquartered in Hyderabad, India.

The trials are among many across the world - there are around 120 vaccine programmes under way.

J&J has joined hands with the U.S. government for a $1 billion investment to speed up development and production of its vaccine.

"The difference between the strains present globally is something still being researched", a spokesperson for the vaccine maker told the BBC.

Indian vaccine manufacturer Bharat Biotech has announced obtaining the approvals of the Drug Controller General of India to initiate phase-I and II human clinical trials for the vaccine candidate for Covid-19 it developed in collaboration with the National Institute of Virology, part of the Indian Council of Medical Research.

The firm, which has delivered more than 4 billion doses of vaccines worldwide, has developed vaccines for H1N1 and rotavirus, among other diseases.

Apart from Bharat Biotech, Zydus Cadilla is working on two vaccines, while Biological E, Indian Immunologicals, and Mynvax are developing a vaccine each. Another four or five home-grown vaccines are in early stages of development. "We are expanding our global manufacturing capacity, including establishing new vaccine manufacturing capabilities", Stoffels said in an email interview from Belgium.

Most experts think a coronavirus vaccine is likely to become available by mid-2021, about 12-18 months after the new virus, known officially as Sars-CoV-2, first emerged.

But vaccines against viruses are extremely hard to develop, and a "gold standard" preventor - one that lasts six months, is at least 50 per cent effective and can successfully prevent transmission of the virus - will no doubt take time.

That would be a huge scientific feat and there are no guarantees it will work, correspondents say.

The Ad5-nCoV is one of China's eight vaccine candidates approved for human trials at home and overseas for the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.

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