Coronavirus vaccine: India's first COVID-19 vaccine candidate COVAXIN to begin with human trials

ST Staff
Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Phase I & II of human trials are all set to take place for the proposed COVID-19 vaccine. Several institutes continue to work in parallel for the same.

A first of its kind potential COVID-19 vaccine, COVAXIN, get a nod from the DCGI (Drug Controller General of India) to conduct Phase I & II human clinical trials. These trials are scheduled to begin across the country from July onwards. 

An inactivated vaccine, COVAXIN is created using a strain of the highly contagious SARS-CoV-2 virus. The vaccine has previously shown promising results in pre-clinical studies, is being developed by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, also in association with ICMR (Indian Council for Medical Research). The study demonstrated extensive safety and immune response against the coronavirus infection.

The novel coronavirus infection has had researchers and drug giants around the world scratch their heads over the possibility of a vaccine. Due to its novelty, several aspects of this virus remain unknown, which causes the task of looking out for a vaccine, difficult. 

India, who is a leading manufacturer of vaccines and generic medicine, plays a key role in the manufacture of this vaccine. Several institutes across the country are working on different drugs. 

According to the government, as many as 30 groups were working on a vaccine in May. However, a top scientific advisor also happened to state how it normally takes 15 years and a price of US$300 million was being condensed into a 12-month-period for the development of this vaccine. 

Several organisations around the world are currently roped into different stages of trials for potential COVID-19 drugs and vaccine. World Health Organisation (WHO) last week also claimed that AstraZeneca's vaccine was probably the leading vaccine candidate for the pandemic.

The British firm is currently working on large-scale, mid-stage human trials of the drug that has reportedly been developed at the University of Oxford. Other potential vaccine candidates include American firm Moderna, which will shortly commence it's Phase III trials in the second week of July. 

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