India's 1st COVID-19 Vaccine Set for Human Trials

Elias Hubbard
July 1, 2020

India has joined the "hot race" to develop a potential COVID-19 vaccine with a significant announcement that a consortia has got regulatory approval to carry out human trials for COVAXIN, starting in July. The proactive support and guidance from the CDSCO has enabled approvals to this project. The latest company to announce a vaccine candidate is Bharat Biotech.

Bharat Biotech is committed to advancing vaccine development as a matter of national importance to demonstrate India's strength in handling future pandemics, Joint Managing Director Suchitra Ella, was quoted as saying in the statement. The indigenous, inactivated vaccine developed and manufactured at the Bio-safety level 3 lab of the Bharat Biotech located in Genome Valley in Hyderabad. However, details about when will it be launched and at what price, have not been disclosed.

If the results from Phase-1, 2 trials are promising and the volunteers show sufficient neutralizing antibodies, the candidate will be tested on a much larger group as part of Phase-3.

For comparison purposes with the FDA's goal for a coronavirus vaccine, the effectiveness of the seasonal flu vaccine ranges from 40 to 60 percent when the vaccine is similar to circulating flu viruses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A vaccine candidate against COVID-19 (the SARS-CoV-2 virus), provided by Imperial College London. About a dozen vaccine candidates are in early stages of testing in thousands of people.

Chinese companies and researchers have been allowed to test eight vaccine candidates in humans at home and overseas, making China a major front-runner in the race to develop a shot against the virus that has killed almost 500,000 people globally.

Among the first companies in India to announce a vaccine candidate was Ahmedabad-based Cadila Healthcare.

The US-based pharma giant, which has already advanced its schedule of starting human trials of its candidate vaccine to the second half of July from September, is working on the twin fronts of expanding existing manufacturing capacity and establishing new units, Chief Scientific Officer Paul Stoffels told PTI.

More than half of 17 candidate vaccines identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) that are in clinical evaluation involve Chinese companies or institutes.

As on June 28, a total of 548k cases have been registered across India and 16475 people have died.

As of Monday, the country had tallied 1.35 million cases of COVID-19 and almost 58,000 deaths, according to case tracker Worldometers.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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