India is on the brink of another round of deadly pandemic as a new vaccine for a rare and deadly coronavirus killed 16 people on Friday, the health ministry said.
The new vaccine, which is being tested in the Indian city of Guwahati, was the first of its kind in the world, with the aim of protecting against the virus.
It is expected to be available by the end of next month, with another batch available for use by doctors in a few weeks.
India has been dealing with a series of outbreaks of coronaviruses, most notably the coronaviral pandemic of 2014 that killed an estimated 4,300 people.
The new vaccine is expected be more effective at slowing the spread of the disease than the earlier one.
The WHO says the virus is thought to be transmitted through direct contact with an infected person, and the first confirmed case of the virus in India occurred in December 2016.
“This vaccine is not only safe and effective in its primary mode, but it is also a very safe and cost-effective vaccine for the secondary mode,” Dr A.P. Narasimhan, the Indian chief scientific adviser, said in a statement on Friday.
The virus has spread across much of India, with a total of 7,000 cases confirmed in the past two months.
In the state of West Bengal, the number of confirmed cases has risen to 6,800.
On Thursday, the government announced the vaccine’s production line in Guwagati, which has about 1,200 people working in it.
The vaccine will be tested in several states, including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana and Odisha.
The country has a population of nearly 7.5 billion people.
In a statement, the WHO said the new vaccine was being tested on live mice in India and is expected for use on humans by mid-April.
The country also plans to conduct clinical trials of the vaccine on people with and without a history of the coronave virus.
The vaccine is also being tested to see whether it is able to stop coronavillae from replicating, and to see if it is effective in blocking transmission of the strain.