Developing a vaccine is a time-consuming process requiring many complicated steps, for which it is not feasible to produce a vaccine with a six-week deadline, World Health Organization (WHO) chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan said. Nevertheless, given that the world is currently facing a global pandemic, the WHO has somewhat shortened the timetable for vaccine production, she said.
She said it could take 6 to 9 or even 12 months for the clinical trail process itself, depending on how smoothly things are handled. “The timeline of the vaccine development can be shortened but the processes that need to be followed can’t be circumvented. This is especially in case of Covid-19 vaccines because these are all new vaccine candidates,” Dr Swaminathan said.
Meanwhile, speaking about the Indian vaccine development projects, Dr Swaminathan said it is “incredibly encouraging” to see these projects coming up in India and elsewhere. “India is very much at the forefront of developing vaccines, not just in terms of manufacturing them and scaling up the production of generic vaccines, but also developing them through local research and development.”