Mission COVID Suraksha was India's indigenous vaccine development program. It was announced as an arm of the 3rd stimulus package, AtmanirbharBharat3.0. The aim was to promote the research and development of Indian vaccines for Covid-19. Led by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), this mission is implemented by the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), which is a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) of DBT.
The main focus of the mission was to bring a safe, affordable, and accessible COVID-19 Vaccine at the earliest to the citizens of the country. The goal was to accelerate the development of at least five vaccine candidates and ensure that they are licensed and introduced in the market for consideration by the regulatory authorities. The end goal was to introduce vaccines in public health systems.
Some Issues in the Process of Mission COVID Suraksha
It was necessary to ensure the vaccine was made and released in as short a time as possible because the pandemic was affecting the country at an uncontainable pace. With Mission COVID Suraksha, the govt decided that all funding and resources would go to accelerating vaccine production as much as possible. The government's biggest target was to get indigenous vaccines out to the people as soon as possible.
There was also a need to create funds for the creation of laboratories that were to be used for clinical trials since clinical trials are important. There was also the necessity of providing more funds to existing laboratories to make them more robust and efficient. It was also necessary that proper quality control systems were in place. New and strict protocols had to be created and maintained.
Data related to the testing had to be managed precisely. A proper Target Product Profile needed to be made. It was a crucial element in the mission to ensure the vaccines were all geared to Indian and Indian needs.
What were the Vaccines Candidates?
The Mission COVID Suraksha was to get a total of 10 vaccines administered, but not all of them have managed to be successful at the human trial stage. Ensuring the vaccines are safe and ready for human use is necessary is an important part of the mission. Some of the successful vaccine candidates were:
- Sputnik V is a Russian vaccine named Sputnik-I after the first artificial Earth satellite. It was also the first vaccine that was cleared for use anywhere in the world.
- Covaxin - this vaccine, made in India, was developed by Bharat Biotech and ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research)
- ZyCoV-D This too is an Indian vaccine developed by Zydus, a pharmaceutical company. developed with the National Biopharma Mission of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT)
- BNT162b2 - is developed by Pfizer, proven to be one of the few very successful ones. Pfizer conducted all the trials effectively and started distribution very soon after its development.
- Covishield was developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca and produced at the Serum Institute of India.
The goal of Mission COVID Suraksha was to deliver efficacious vaccines to the population of 1.4 billion people of India. In the pandemic where the need for vaccines as well as the urgency was high, the initiative was something that was necessary and brought to the public health systems vaccines like Covaxin, Covishield, and more as speedily as was possible.
FAQs on Mission COVID Suraksha
Q.1. What is the goal of Mission COVID Suraksha?
The goal of Mission COVID Suraksha is to focus on getting the citizens of the country affordable and safe vaccines in a time of need.
Q.2. How much money was earmarked for Phase 1 of Mission COVID Suraksha?
The government had earmarked Rs 900 crores for Phase 1 of Mission Covid Suraksha- which was to last a period of 12 months. Expediting the development of the 5-6 vaccines was the primary concern.
Q.3. What did the government stress on most with Mission COVID Suraksha?
Stress was put on the preclinical and clinical development since it was important for the vaccines to be administrable at the human stage.
Q.4. Who were the various vaccine candidates that were a part of Mission Covid Suraksha?
The initial aim of Mission COVID Suraksha was to get a total of 10 vaccines administered, but not all of them have managed to be successful at the human trial stage. Sputnik V, Covaxin, ZyCoV-D, BNT162b2, Covishield are some of the vaccine candidates that were considered for administration due to the Mission.