New Delhi: The Serum Institute of India (SII), which has partnered with AstraZeneca for manufacturing the COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by the University of Oxford, has said that it would start phase 2 trials of the COVID vaccine this week. The SII also asserted that it has shortlisted 10 centres across India to host  Phases 2 and 3 human clinical trials of the Oxford University developed COVID-19 vaccine. Also Read - PM Modi Likely to Hold COVID-19 Review Meeting With Chief Ministers of 7 Worst-hit States Next Week

This comes a day after the national expert group on vaccine administration for COVID-19 met representatives of leading domestic manufactures, including SII, Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadila, to take inputs about the present stage of various candidate vaccines as well as their expectations from the government. The meeting was chaired by Niti Aayog member V K Paul and co-chaired by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan. Also Read - IPL 2020: Steve Smith, Jos Buttler And Jofra Archer Clear Mandatory Coronavirus Test

Sources have said that the panel comprising Department of Biotechnology Secretary Renu Swarup, ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava and Department of Pharmaceuticals Secretary P D Vaghela met the representatives of the five pharma firms and asked them about their production capacity and whether they need any sort of assistance from the government. Notably, this was the second meeting of the committee after August 12. Also Read - COVID-19: Researchers Suggest That Stroke Scans Can Reveal COVID-19 Infection

Meanwhile, with a spike of 55,079 cases and 876 fatalities in the last 24 hours, India’s tally of coronvirus cases rose to 27,02,743, including 6,73,166 active cases, 19,77,780 discharged or migrated and 51,797 deaths.