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Covaxin to be Available by Early 2021

By Parthiva Mewawala 

22nd September 2020

A leading doctor at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, told

The Times of India that the Indian made a vaccine for the Coronavirus, Covaxin, which is currently in the second phase of testing, will most likely be cleared for public use in the early months of 2021. 

The vaccine, indigenously developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, successfully completed Phase One of clinical trials. It has received the regulatory body's nod to begin with the Phase Two trial which is slated to end in October. The third phase of clinical trials will begin thereafter. 

In Phase One of the Covaxin trials, 375 participants were chosen for the study from 12 locations. Of the 375 participants, 100 healthy volunteers from the mix were shortlisted for the human trials that started on July 20. As part of the study, their blood samples were monitored for any side effects. 

The results of the animal trials of Covaxin were published in a joint study by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Bharat Biotech. A statement released by the company revealed that the vaccine candidate was found to generate robust immune responses, thus preventing infection and disease in the primates upon high amounts of exposure to the live SARS-COV-2 virus. 

Published on Friday, the study, which is yet to be peer-reviewed, claimed that the two-dose vaccine could prevent the virus from multiplying in the nasal cavity, throat, and lung tissues of monkeys. 

The study involved 20 monkeys, of the Rhesus Macaques species, that were divided into 4 groups. One of the groups was administered the placebo while the other three were administered three different vaccine candidates developed by Bharat Biotech. Fourteen days after administering the second dose of the vaccine, the monkeys were exposed to the virus. The study reported that the formation of the antibodies began three weeks after the vaccination and continued till day 35.

Covaxin is an 'inactivated' vaccine that uses dead viruses to stimulate the body into producing the antibodies. Apart from Covaxin, two other vaccine candidates have reached advanced status. Russia's Sputnik V is set for clinical trials, while the vaccine which is being developed by Oxford University and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India is undergoing the third phase of its clinical trials in India. 

Sources: The Print, TOI, Firstpost, Deccan Herald

Edited by Varun Paleli Vasudevan

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