India's 1st COVID-19 Vaccine Set for Human Trials

Henrietta Brewer
June 30, 2020

Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN can be India's first vaccine for coronavirus after completion of human trials.

Nathalie Landry, executive vice president of Scientific and Medical Affairs with Medicago, the biopharmaceutical company behind the vaccine, told CTV News that they "have completed preclinical development for this vaccine", and are only "a few weeks away [from] initiating our first clinical trials in humans".

The SARS-CoV-2 strain was isolated in NIV and transferred to Bharat Biotech, which has developed the indigenous, inactivated vaccine at its biosafety level-3 (BSL-3) high containment facility located in Genome Valley on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

Joining the league, India has also developed a COVID-19 vaccine and the news has further raised the hopes of people.

The company, which is affiliated to state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), said that its COVID-19 candidate vaccine has displayed promising results in early human trials.

The Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech announced on Monday that it had received regulatory approval for Phase 1 safety trials and Phase 2 efficacy trials of the candidate vaccine on healthy human volunteers.

There are no details on how long the next steps are likely to take and when the vaccine is likely to be launched in the market.

The first phase is "designed to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine", she explained.

American firm Moderna Inc., which has already started Phase II trials for its vaccine candidate mRNA-1273, has partnered with drugmaker Catalent produce 100 million doses starting in the third quarter of 2020. "Our R&D and Manufacturing teams worked tirelessly to deploy our proprietary technologies towards this platform", said Dr. Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharat Biotech. The proactive support and guidance from CDSCO has enabled approvals to this project. "Continuing our focus on creating the only BSL-3 containment facilities for manufacturing and testing in India, Bharat Biotech is committed to advancing vaccine development as a matter of national importance to demonstrate India's strength in handling future pandemics". Scientists all over the world are working days and nights to develop the vaccine for Covid-19.

The vaccine was jointly produced by Chinese biopharmaceutical firm CanSino Biologics Inc and Institute of Biotechnology under the Academy of Military Medical Sciences.

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