India is all set to start phase 3 trials for Covid-19 vaccine today. An indigenously developed potential COVID-19 vaccine which yielded encouraging results in the initial phases, will enter the third phase of the pre-clinical human trial.
Announcement to this effect was made by Dr V.K. Paul, head of the national task force on COVID-19. Although, he refrained from revealing the name of the vaccine candidate.
It is likely that the Oxford University vaccine candidate — Covishield — will be the first one to move into production in India, sources have indicated to India Today TV .
“Some 20 different sites and hospitals across the country have been chosen, covering five different regions that are Covid-19 hotspots. We seek to conduct trials across 11-12 hospitals in partnership with ICMR,” said a spokesperson of the Serum Institute, the Indian production partner of the Oxford vaccine.
Recently, the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 have had consultations with representatives of leading domestic manufactures. The expert group was briefed about the latest developments related to indigenous vaccine developments. Industry representative also told the panel members about their expectations from the Government.
The panel met separately with the representatives of the five firms Five firms — Serum Institute of India (Pune), Bharat Biotech (Hyderabad), Zydus Cadila (Ahmedabad), Gennova Biopharmaceuticals (Pune) and Biological E (Hyderabad).
Dr V.K. Paul on Saturday also said that the other two vaccines are currently in phase-I or II of their pre-clinical trials.
“As far as Coronavirus vaccines are concerned, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured the country on Independence Day. He had said that three vaccines are being developed in India and are in different stages. One of them will enter phase 3 trial today or tomorrow,” Paul said during a media briefing today. The other two experimental vaccines are in phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials.
India has currently three vaccine candidates for COVID-19.
ChAdOx1, developed by Oxford University and manufactured jointly by the Serum Institute of India (SII), Pune and AstraZeneca, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, jointly developed with the Indian Council of Medical Research and the third is ZycovD by Zydus Cadila.
The phase-1 human clinical trials of the two COVID-19 vaccine candidates developed indigenously by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Zydus Cadila Ltd have been completed and the trials have moved to phase 2, ICMR Director General Bhargava had said at a press briefing recently.
Recently, Biological E Ltd signed an agreement with Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, for creation and enhancement of production capabilities to manufacture the latter’s COVID-19 vaccine in India. Janssen Pharmaceutica NV is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.