India's first coronavirus vaccine candidate COVAXIN approved by DCGI, Human trials begin in July
By Vivek Raj | Galatta | Jun 30, 2020, 12:40 pm
The first potential coronavirus vaccine to be developed in India, COVAXIN, has now been approved by the DGCI (Drug Controller General of India) for Phase I and II human clinical trials, announced to begin from July across the country. Developed in association with the ICMR (Indian Council for Medical Research) by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, COVAXIN has been created from a strain of the infectious SARS-CoV-2 virus and is an inactivated vaccine. It has reportedly provided lucrative results during preclinical studies while indicating wide safety and productive immune responses.
With a cure for coronavirus the top priority around the world at present, making a vaccine has only gotten harder considering the virus has never previously been identified in humans before. With numerous institutes across India working on different drugs in the fight against COVID-19, India is billed to be a key player in this race considering the country has been a leading manufacturer of vaccines and generic medicines. The government in a statement in May said as many as 30 groups were already working on a vaccine for coronavirus. A top scientific advisor to the government said efforts that normally took 15 years and cost US$300 million were being condensed into a 12-month period.
There are similar efforts around the world as well as a number of countries are working on several drugs, which are said to be in various different stages of trial. The World Health Organization (WHO) last week in a statement said the British firm, AStraZeneca's vaccine was primed to be a leading candidate as a COVID-19 cure. The drug developed by researchers at the University of Oxford is already in large-scale and mid-stage human trials. Another possible vaccine from the American firm Moderna is scheduled to go into Phase III testing clinical trials after mid-July. A vaccine candidate developed by CanSino Biologics has been given approval by China's military as well, which reports state has shown promise in early clinical trials and is one among the eight vaccine candidates being developed by Chinese firms for human trials next. It is to be noted that US-based firm, Gilead Sciences Inc. last month said their antiviral drug, Remdesivir, on a five-day course proved to be moderately beneficial to patients with coronavirus symptoms.
With over five lakh people around the world succumbing to the coronavirus pandemic, over 1.01 crore have been confirmed to have tested positive for the disease across the globe, while more than 16,475 victims have registered in India alone, as per the Ministry of Health and Welfare's latest data. India is the fourth-worst affected country in the world with nearly 5.5 lakh COVID-19 cases to date.