Over six months and nearly ten million infections later, COVID-19 is showing no signs of stopping, even as experts worry about the emergence of the second wave of infections. Researchers are fighting a race against time to develop the world’s first vaccine and prevent further spread of the deadly infection.
With over 110 candidates involved in the production of vaccine from Britain, USA, China, Africa and Israel, India saw the approval of the country’s first indigenous vaccine, COVAXIN given the go-ahead for the start of clinical trials.
Leading vaccine maker from the country, Hyderabad based Bharat Biotech won the approvals from Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) to start phase I and II clinical trials of its vaccine prototype, named ‘COVAXIN’ in the country. This is the first such company which has received a go-ahead to start the clinical trials.
Drug Controller General of India Dr V G Somani approved Bharat Biotech’s application to conduct phase I and II clinical trials for Covaxin, it stated in a release. The vaccine has been produced by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology (NIV) by using an inactive version of the vaccine. Pre-clinical trials for the same have shown good immune response in the body and have been termed safe for use.
Once the vaccine is injected into a human, it has no potential to infect or replicate, since it is a killed virus. It just serves to the immune system as a dead virus and mounts an antibody response towards the virus.
Bharat Biotech has also announced plans of a joint vaccine study with the University of Wisconsin and another with researchers based out of Thomas Jefferson University.
While India’s top medical minds have praised the development, it has not been confirmed as to when will the vaccine be available for public use.
India, which is one of the biggest vaccine production hubs worldwide is seeing as many as 30 vaccine candidates being developed in the country. Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) is working with many global vaccine firms, including University of Oxford to ramp up production of their vaccine if it is approved for use post the end of clinical trials.
Dr Krishna M Ella, managing director at Bharat Biotech, gives his regards to all the teams and doctors who have put in their efforts for a successful outcome. This world might just have found the solution to this global pandemic which has been the root cause of most of the problems for the past six months, by an Indian medical research team.
BY: SAHEJ KAPOOR