Safety Concerns Raised Regarding Covid-19 Vaccine Trials

Big pharma companies and vaccine makers including Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca, and Pfizer will be releasing safety data from top vaccine contenders on October 22.

Considering the extraordinary situation right now, the global scientific community is focused on one singular goal is to find an effective Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

With Russia being the first candidate to come up with its vaccine (Sputnik-V, EpiVacCorona), there’s a race in the development of vaccines all over the world. As none of these Russian vaccines has been peer-reviewed for safety as of yet, which puts it a little below over the other prominent vaccine candidates.

More than 160 potential vaccine candidates around the world progressing towards successful vaccine trials across the globe.

AstraZeneca, Covaxin, Bharat Biotech, and ZyCoV-D, Zydus Cadila are some prominent names from India that are in the race of mass-producing vaccines once the trials are completed successfully.

With the time frame being reduced for vaccine development, potential risks involved are much higher and the results of human trials are very important for its efficacy.

Vaccines might be one of the best ways to protect ourselves from the pandemic but there exist some chances that a vaccine may not suit everyone, or may have certain side-effects for people, especially for those belonging to vulnerable categories.

Big pharma companies and vaccine makers including Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca, and Pfizer will be releasing safety data from top vaccine contenders on October 22.

  • Johnson & Johnson earlier (October 11) said that it would pause its trial to investigate after one of the 60,000 volunteers reported an ‘unexplained’ illness in the middle of the trials. The exact nature of the illness remains unclear, though J&J plans to release more information as it investigates.
  • While preliminary data on Oxford University’s Phase-1 and Phase-2 trials on their Covid-19 vaccine showed that it is safe and induces an immune response, with mild side effects in some participants, which the scientists say can be treated with the commonly available pain medication paracetamol.

The vaccine phase-3 trial has been halted by regulators for more than a month after neurological symptoms arose in a volunteer. While AZ’s studies have resumed in a number of countries, including the U.K., its U.S. trial remains paused.

According to Dr. Suresh Jadhav, Serum Institute Chairperson, the earliest doses of the vaccine could be rolled out by December and start inoculating sections of India by March, if regulatory approvals are met on a timely basis.

  • Moderna, another prominent vaccine candidate, which is in the middle of phase III testing is expected to release safety data from its clinical trials, which will primarily determine how safe and dependable the company’s novel mRNA vaccine would be in fighting the pandemic.
  • American pharma giant Pfizer Inc.’s Covid vaccine, developed with German medical maker, BioNTech has raised hopes to have a vaccine ready for the American public by the month of November if emergency authorization is granted in time.
  • After Novavax, Oxford-Astrazence (Covishield), the vaccine maker has joined hands with Bharat Biotech (the maker of Covaxin) to conduct phase III clinical trials of their novel nasal vaccine. Although no dates or trial plans have been announced reports suggest that nasal vaccines could be made available by mid-half of next year.

Following the discovery of the side-effect, phase III trials for many vaccines were halted across the world, including in India. While the discovery of any side effects may seem trouble but it allows researchers during crucial phase II/III phase to “correct” the error and deliver a safer vaccine.

It must be noted that vaccine development is a long process with multiple stages and most important of all is human trials and in any trial fast-tracking the process could lead to severe consequences for the safety and the health of people.

Therefore, patience is the key today; we are not far behind the world in terms of vaccine development till then we have to follow Covid protocols and guidelines of the government.

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