BENGALURU: The work on research and development of Covid vaccine in the country is on a war footing. “There are over 30 attempts being made and 20 of them are doing reasonably well,” said Prof K Vijay Raghavan, principal scientific advisor, Union government, while speaking at the Synergia Virtual Forum on ‘Accelerating the development of novel & affordable therapies’, organised by Synergia Foundation.
“Big companies have gone into vaccine design and manufacturing in an incredible manner. But we are also seeing smaller companies, start-ups and academic labs coming into this in a big way,” he added. “The world will need many vaccines, each one better than the other. It’s going to be a big challenge and no matter when the vaccines are made, Indian vaccine companies will play a big role in bulk manufacturing, filling and distribution,” he said. “India is the biggest manufacturer of vaccines. Two out of every three children in the world have received vaccines made in India,” he added.
He stressed on the role of technology in managing Covid and development of drugs. “The pandemic has seen people coming together to manufacture and provide ventilators, oxygen-support devices, contact-tracing apps, discovery, design and development of drugs through open source,” he said.He stressed upon the role of climate change, environment and ecology and the need for sustainable development. “We have a close human-animal proximity and the zoonotic diseases, which were on low probability earlier, are happening now. Growth of cities, which is an inevitable consequence of growing economies, has meant an extraordinarily large number of people coming together,” he said.
Earlier, Dr Chas Bountra, pro-vice-chancellor for Innovation at the University of Oxford, spoke about the need for research and innovation, global partnerships, industry, governments, regulators, patent groups, funders and the importance of open source, artificial intelligence, new platforms, biomarkers and machine learning.