The Indian Council of Medical Research and the Serum Institute of India on Thursday said their vaccine candidate, Covishield, could be a realistic solution to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Covishield is by far the most advanced vaccine in human testing in India,” a statement from the ICMR said. “Based on the Phase 2/3 trial results, SII [Serum Institute of India] with the help of ICMR [Indian Council of Medical Research] will pursue the early availability of this product for India.”

The statement said that the Serum Institute of India has already manufactured 40 million, or 4 crore, doses of the vaccine “under the at-risk manufacturing and stockpiling license” from the Drugs Controller General of India.

The ICMR also announced it had completed enrolment for phase 3 clinical trials of the vaccine candidate in India. Currently, Serum Institute of India and ICMR are conducting phase 2 and 3 trials of the vaccine, which was developed in the United Kingdom, at 15 different centres across the country. The vaccine is being tested in large efficacy trials in the UK, Brazil, South Africa and US.

Further, the ICMR and Serum Institute of India have also collaborated for Covovax, which was developed by US-based vaccine company Novavax. “The partnership is a stellar example of private-public institutes collaborating to mitigate the dire consequences of the pandemic outbreak,” the statement said.

Novavax has also begun the late phase trial of its vaccine candidate in South America and will soon start the same in the US, the statement said. “SII [Serum Institute of India] has received the bulk vaccine and Matrix-M adjuvant [a vital component for vaccine development that provides multiple immune system enhancements] from Novavax and will soon fill and finish them in vials,” it said. “This vaccine formulated at SII [Covovax] will be tested in a Phase 3 trial in India and an application for the same to regulatory authorities will be made soon by ICMR and SII.”

Chief Executive Officer of Serum Institute of India, Adar Poonawalla, said the collaboration with ICMR will help put India at the forefront of developing an “immunogenic and efficacious” vaccine. “The partnership further testifies the importance of private-public institutes coming together in scaling up the management and containing the spread of the virus.”

On the collaboration, ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bhargava said that it was their contribution to the fight against the global pandemic.

While the ICMR has funded the clinical trial site fees, Serum Institute of India has funded other expenses for Covishield. Covishield has been developed at Serum Institute of India’s Pune laboratory with a master seed from Oxford University/AstraZeneca.

Meanwhile, India recorded 47,905 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, pushing the tally in the country to 86,83,916, according to the health ministry’s data. The toll rose by 550 to 1,28,121 in 24 hours. Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 5.20 crore people and killed 12,82,184 people, according to the John Hopkins University data. The recoveries stand at 3,34,90,724.