Another COVID vaccine ‘Covidshield’ starts with the human trials

A vaccine for Covid-19, Covidshield, developed with combined efforts of the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca plc has reached the phase ll of the human trials as confirmed by the Indian Council of Medical Research director-general Balran Bhargava on Tuesday this week. ICMR is the second prominent sponsor to phase 2 and 3 trials of over 1,600 patients. For the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford, Serum Institute of India has started with the trials where the first few patients were screened by Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University(BVDU) Medical college and Hospital in Pune.

Covidshield is being touted as one of the more promising vaccines that are in developing stages against the novel coronavirus. The Serum Institute of Indian has been handed over the responsibility as the official partners to take care of the marketing and distribution of the vaccine in India.

In a report by LiveMint, Sanjay Lalwani, principal investigator for the hospital 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 hospital is currently aiming at 300-350 participants for the trial, added Lalwani.

As per the government’s clinical trial registry, seven hospitals along with BVDU have received ethics committee approval among 17 sites. The process of screening and enrollment of the participants can only be done if the procedure gets a nod from the ethics committee of the hospital.

India will reportedly be producing one billion doses of the vaccine in the country in coordination with British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca according to a deal that was signed by the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume in June. With this India has gotten its third possible vaccine to fight coronavirus.

Earlier reports suggested that the vaccine was developed merely in 73 days in India but SII had completely scrapped the claims saying that it will only be commercialized after proper trials. As for the vaccine, it is made of a weaker version of the adenovirus that one gets from the common cold. This has been taken from Chimpanzees and further has been genetically modified. The vaccine candidate – ChadOx1NcOV was known to have shown positive results after it managed to build a strong immune response as claimed by the Lancet, a medical journal.

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