New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: A government Committee, led by NITI Aayog member VK Paul, will meet on Wednesday to decide on the next sequence of steps to be taken to select suitable COVID-19 vaccines, their procurement, and subsequent prioritisation of the most vulnerable groups.

The development comes in the backdrop of Russian COVID-19 vaccine candidate claiming first success of its kind on Tuesday, though the trials continue to go on. Also, the development of indigenous vaccine candidates by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech and Ahmedabad-basdd Zydus Cydila continue, though the final trials of both still have a long way to go.

"It will also look into aspects related to logistics like cold chain and inventory, arrangement of resources for procuring the vaccine and issues of equity. This expert group will continue its engagement with all state governments and vaccine manufacturers in India," Health Ministry's Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said at a press briefing on Tuesday.

Pune-based Serum Institute of India has already tied up for the mass production of Oxford-Astrazeneca's vaccine candidate, along with monetary investments made by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the vaccine distribution of over 100 million dosages in over 90 middle-income countries. The Institute is also conducting the Phase 2 and 3 human clinical trials of the vaccine candidate developed by the Oxford University, across the country.

As of last week, globally, 200 vaccine candidates are currently undergoing the development. Of 200, 177 are at a pre-clinical trial stage, fourteen at Phase-I trials, three are in phase-II, and five are at phase-III of vaccine devlopment. The only vaccine candidate to have received the approval for mass use, is Russia's Sputnik. However, the scepticism around the precaution-less jumps made in Russia for its COVID-19 vaccine development project have been the hotspot of concerns for countries to administer the said vaccine in their populations.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta