NEW DELHI, India 

The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) on Tuesday informed that the human trials of the two indigenous vaccines for COVID-19 had begun, with approximately 1,000 human volunteers.

“The two candidates have got their sites ready and they are doing their clinical study on approximately 1,000 human volunteers, each at different sites,” Balram Bhargava, the director-general of the ICMR, said in a press briefing.

Bhargava said the two indigenous vaccine candidates are on phase one and two of human trial stages.

Covaxin, India’s first COVID-19 vaccine, got approval for human trials from the country’s drug regulator last month.

The vaccine has been developed by Bharat Biotech company, in collaboration with the ICMR and the National Institute of Virology (NIV).

The indigenous, inactivated vaccine was developed from a SARS-CoV-2 strain, isolated by the NIV and transferred to the company’s BSL-3 High Containment facility located at the southern Hyderabad city of India, the company said in a statement.

ZyCoV-D is India’s second possible vaccine against COVID-19. Zydus Cadila group received approval for the trials earlier this month.

The company in a statement said it would take three months to finish the trials. Developed at the Zydus’ Vaccine Technology Centre in Ahmedabad, ZyCoV-D showed a “strong immune response” in animal studies, it added.

India with over 906,000 cases of the novel coronavirus, is the third worst-hit country in the world after the US and Brazil. At least 23,727 people have died due to the disease in the country.

Bhargava told the media that “it was India’s moral duty to fast track COVID-19 vaccine development and ensure not even a day is lost on regulatory approvals while ensuring that science and ethics are not compromised.”

He also said all nations are in touch with India which will play a major role in scaling up the production of whichever COVID-19 vaccine is developed first.

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