US$ 125 mn stimulus announced for COVID vaccine development

The stimulus package will target vaccine development, distribution, storage and public dissemination of knowledge

November 30, 2020

Five vaccine candidates selected by the Department of Biotechnology are under clinical trials.

PM Modi recently engaged with stakeholders from Serum Institute, Zydus Pharma and Gennova Pharma.

PM Modi encouraged pharmaceutical leaders to demystify the knowledge surrounding the vaccine when engaging with the public.

Clinical trials and R&D are two key strengths to be developed in the Indian pharmaceutical universe.

India’s pharmaceutical capabilities have received an added push through the announcement of a US$ 125mn stimulus towards the development of the COVID-19 vaccine under Mission COVID Suraksha. Through this initiative, end-to-end training, knowledge sharing, quality checking protocols, data management and accreditation in the domain of vaccine production will be attended to. The stimulus can also be expected to fast-track the distribution of the vaccine among the general public. Currently, five of the ten COVID-19 vaccine candidates considered by the Department of Biotechnology are under clinical trials

Prime Minister Modi recently visited the facilities at the Serum Institute, Zydus Pharma and Gennova Pharma in order to keep track of progress on the vaccine.  During the meeting, the Prime Minister recommended that the entities deconstruct the knowledge and application of the vaccine when engaging with the public. The entity’s suggestions on regulation, distribution, logistics and storage were also noted during the meeting. 

PWC notes that vaccine development and exports are among India’s key strengths. Under the leadership of the Serum Institute of India, the nation is among the leading producers of vaccines including BCG, DPT, Measles and Tuberculosis. Industry leaders also highlight India’s nascent strengths in the nutraceutical space. The nation’s ability to develop nutraceutical materials in certain controlled environments, as well as prowess in sourcing quality ingredients can be harnessed to make India a pharmaceutical powerhouse. Diverse nutraceutical supply chains have also been strengthened by an increase in national demand for supplements with Omega-3, Ashwagandha, black garlic and nanosomal iron. 

Experts point out that India’s competencies in clinical trials and R&D remain to be tapped and enhanced. There is great scope to create an ecosystem conducive to the requirements of pre-clinical trials for pharmaceutical products. Currently, national pharmaceutical entities take on partnerships with foreign manufacturers in order to conduct comprehensive testing and R&D procedures. With optimal governmental intervention and policymaking, India can expect to achieve end-to-end expertise in the pharmaceutical sector.