India is set to begin human trials on Monday of its first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine by screening hundreds of enrolled volunteers. The government approved the exercise as 40 000 new coronavirus cases put the national tally at 1,1 million.
However, some health experts have warned that the figure could be much higher.
A total of 375 volunteers will receive the first doses of Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech, a leading Indian vaccine-maker, according to Sanjay Rai, a community medicine expert involved in the exercise.
Another Indian company hopes to start human trials of a vaccine developed by researchers at Oxford University. Six more are in the race but US-based scientist, Bhramar Mukherjee added a word of caution.
Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, Ashish Jha says India must look at its other assets instead of banking on the hopes of developing a COVID-19 vaccine.
Several Indian biotechnology companies said they were already ramping up the capacity to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines on a scale never tried before.