More than 30 vaccines under trial have been supported by the Indian government and three of them are in advance stages, the home ministry told the parliament on Wednesday. Four of these are at an advanced pre-clinical development stage, the government said.
Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai also told the Rajya Sabha that 13 clinical trials of repurposed drugs have been undertaken to build a portfolio of therapeutic options for COVID-19 patients.
Mr. Rai detailed all measures taken by the central Indian government since January to check the spread of the pandemic while answering a question that sought an explanation for the surge in Covid numbers.
India's coronavirus tally has crossed the 50-lakh mark.
"More than 30 vaccine candidates, which are in different stages of development, have been supported (by the government); three (of these) candidates are at an advanced stage of phases 1, 2 and 3 and more than four (candidates) are in the advanced pre-clinical development stage," the home ministry said in a written reply.
A national expert group on vaccine administration for COVID-19 was also constituted on August 7 under the NITI Aayog, the statement added.
Vaccine development has five stages from pre-clinical testing to final approval. The number of subjects increases in each of the three phases of testing from a small group to hundreds and finally thousands of people.
The Indian government also informed the Rajya Sabha that contact tracing is being conducted under the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme and that 40 lakh people were under surveillance.
"In the early stage of the pandemic, this (contact tracing) was done for travel-related cases and subsequently for cases being reported from the community (certain geographical pockets) as a part of the containment strategy. As on September 10, a total of 40 lakh persons have been kept under surveillance," the ministry said.
The government also gave details about its per million testings, a total number of Covid treatment facilities created, improvement in health infrastructure to fight the pandemic, guidelines for clinical management of COVID-19, and the center's logistical support to states.