Informing that the Drugs Controller General of India has granted clearance for the clinical trials of one more candidate vaccine from India, NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr VK Paul on Tuesday said six vaccines are currently undergoing clinical trials in the country.
"This week, the Drugs Controller General of India granted clearance for clinical trials for one more candidate vaccine from India. Genoa company, with the help of Government of India's research agency Department of Biotechnology, has developed a vaccine," Mr Paul said while addressing a press conference in Delhi.
He said the technology used in this is the same as the Pfizer vaccine.
"Unlike Pfizer vaccine or some others, this vaccine -- if it comes into existence -- will be maintainable at normal cold chain conditions, in a normal fridge. At this time, six vaccines are undergoing clinical trials in this nation," Mr Paul said.
The NITI Aayog member also expressed concern over COVID-19 spread amid the ongoing farmers' protest at the borders of the national capital. "We should take precautions. Messages have been sent to them (farmers) from the government. Democratic process should continue but we should also continue to follow COVID-19 guidelines," he said.
Lauding the states and Union Territories who recently brought down the spike in COVID-19 cases, Mr Paul said they are happy to note that Delhi has made progress.
"We congratulate the Government of Delhi as well as other governments who have done so well in contributing towards such a significant control in recent times. There are states where we still have concerns. We request the government and citizens of Uttarakhand, Nagaland and Himachal Pradesh that every effort be made to bring the situation under control," Mr Paul said.
Health and Family Welfare Ministry Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, addressing the press conference, said the number of cases per million population in India continues to be amongst the lowest in the world.
"29,000 cold chain points, 240 walk-in coolers, 70 walk-in freezers, 45000 ice-lined refrigerators, 41,000 deep freezers and 300 solar refrigerators will be used. All these equipment have already reached state governments," Mr Bhushan said.
He said the number of COVID-19 cases in India is at 7,178 per million population, whereas the global average for the same is at 9,000. He also expressed concern over the adverse effects of immunisation and suggested the states and Union Territories to prepare for the same.
"Adverse events following immunisation is a critical issue. When we undertake a universal immunisation programme, which has been done for decades, then some adverse effects are seen in children and pregnant women after vaccination," Mr Bhushan said.
"So, we can't deny chances of an adverse event when Covid vaccination begins. In countries, where immunisation has already begun, especially in the UK, adverse events took place on the very first day. So, it is essential that states and UTs prepare for this too," he added.
This comes as the total number of COVID-19 cases in India reached 99,06,165 with 22,065 new cases and 254 new deaths, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said earlier today. So far, a total number of 1,43,709 people have died due to the virus.