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Special Report - 14 August, 2020

COVID 2019: India's first coronavirus vaccine is safe; preliminary results suggest

With 7 vaccine candidates already in the final stage of human trials, the scientist community across the globe is making great strides in the development of a vaccine for COVID-19.

New Delhi : The pandemic ravaging the world has already infected more than 20.7 million people across the globe and claimed more than 751,000 lives. After the news of Russia registering the ‘world’s first coronavirus vaccine’ started doing rounds, hopes of an effective vaccine to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus have also strengthened. With 7 vaccine candidates already in the final stage of human trials, the scientist community across the globe is making great strides in the development of a vaccine for COVID-19.

According to the latest reports, the preliminary results of Phase I clinical trials of Covaxin show that India’s first coronavirus vaccine is safe to use. The vaccine has been jointly developed by Hyderabad based Bharat Biotech in collaboration Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV). 12 medical institutes across the country were select to conduct Phase I/II trial of the homegrown vaccine, including AIIMS Delhi, Patna, Post-Graduate Institute (PGI) of Medical Sciences in Rohtak and Gillurkar Hospital and Research Institute in Nagpur.

The Phase I clinical trials of India’s first indigenous vaccine are currently underway on 375 volunteers at 12 medical institutes across the country. The trials are to be concluded by the end of August, paving way for the second phase of clinical trials. While the findings from the first phase of the trial will be submitted soon, early findings are pointing that the vaccine is safe and does not induce any adverse side-effects in the volunteers.

Dr Savita Verma, the principal investigator who is leading the trial at PGI, Rohtak, said that no adverse reactions have been observed in the volunteers so far. She said, “ The vaccine is safe. We have not observed any adverse events in any of the volunteers at our site.”

Is Covaxin safe?

Commenting on the efficacy of the vaccine, the principal investigator noted, “As of now we know that it is safe. The second step is to know how effective the vaccine is for which we have started collecting the samples. ”

Coronavirus vaccine trials in India

As of now, there are three vaccine candidates in different phases of clinical trials in India. The first, and the most advanced one being the Oxford University’s vaccine candidate (known is Covidshield in India), Bharat Biotech and ICMR’s COVAXIN and DNA-based vaccine ‘ ZyCoV-D’, by the drugmaker Zydus Cadila.

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