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Clinical Trials of Serum Institute’s ‘Covishield’ Vaccine Begin in India


Clinical Trials of Serum Institute’s ‘Covishield’ Vaccine Begin in India
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The Serum Institute of India (SII) started human trials for its much talked about ‘Covishield’ vaccine on Tuesday. This vaccine is jointly developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca and is considered to be one of the leading candidates to make the final cut.

The first patients for Covishield’s human trials were screened and approved by Pune’s Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University Medical College and Hospital. It is said that the hospital aims to have up to 300 to 350 participants for this trial. 

Speaking to Livemint, principal investigator for the hospital, Sanjay Lalwani said - “Today, we have screened some patients. Tomorrow, we will get their COVID antibody test reports, and if they come negative, we will inoculate with the ‘Covishield’ vaccine."

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will sponsor phases 2 and 3 of the human trials with an estimated 1,600 patients. ICMR Director-General, Balram Bhargava has confirmed the developments in the Covishield trial phase.

The participants for the trial are to be screened and approved by the ethics committee of the selected hospitals. It is said that a total of seven hospitals have currently received the requisite approvals from the ethics committee to conduct human trials.

Also Read - BMC Sends Queries To ICMR Regarding COVID-19 Vaccine

SII is well-positioned to be at the forefront of India’s COVID-19 vaccine push. This is only the country’s third firm to receive permissions for human trials with Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadilla’s vaccines undertaking Phase 1 and 2 of human trials. 

The Serum Institute has also received $150 million in funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to provide vaccines. The funding also comes with a condition that each dose shall not cost more than $3, which is the equivalent of ₹220. This fund will support SII’s research on vaccines by the University of Oxford and Novavax.  

As per early data from a clinical research report published in The Lancet journal in July, Oxford’s vaccine showed double the immunity against COVID-19. However, no conclusions can be drawn from this data as the vaccine candidate is yet to complete the human trials stage.

Also read - KEM Hospital To Conduct Trials For COVID-19 Vaccine

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