New Delhi: Distributing COVID-19 vaccine around the world fairly without letting the rich countries corner the limited doses is going to be a big challenge, the World Health Organisation’s Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on Wednesday. On vaccine development for the novel coronavirus, she said: “By early 2021, we should have some good news.” Also Read - Sputnik V: Trials For Russian Coronavirus Vaccine May Begin in India in Upcoming Weeks

Then, there is the big challenge of being able to scale, distribute and allocate fairly around the world without letting the rich countries corner the limited doses, Swaminathan said, addressing the valedictory of the XV international conference on public policy & management hosted by the Centre for Public Policy at Indian Institute of Management Bangalore in a virtual mode. Also Read - DCGI Issues Notice to Serum Institute Over Suspension of COVID Vaccine Trial by AstraZeneca Abroad

But India is in a good position because many companies are working on vaccine development, either on their own or in collaboration, she said, adding, the country is a manufacturing hub for vaccines. Also Read - COVID-19 Vaccine India Update: 'Claims Over Availability of Covishield Completely False And Conjectural', Clarifies SII

The Phase II human clinical trial of the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine candidate, being manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), began at a medical college and hospital in Pune on Wednesday. Two male volunteers were administered the vaccine at Bharti Vidyapeeth’s Medical College and Hospital, a senior office-bearer of the hospital said.

“Doctors at the hospital administered the first shot of the ‘Covishield’ vaccine to a 32-year-old man after his reports of COVID-19 and antibodies tests came out negative,” Medical Director of Bharti Vidyapeeth’s Medical College, Hospital and Research Centre, Dr Sanjay Lalwani, said.

Another 48-year-old male volunteer was also given the vaccine, he added. While the 32-year-old volunteer works for a private company, the other one is associated with the healthcare sector, he said.

(With PTI Inputs)