Covaxin: The indigenous Coronavirus vaccine of India; approved for the human trial

by Shatakshi Gupta

Amid the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, every country is trying to develop a vaccine for the Coronavirus. Now India is also in the race of developing a vaccine. Among many other companies in India, a Hyderabad-based firm Bharat Biotech got clearance for human trials of the Covaxin Vaccine.

A number of people will be tested with this vaccine in a controlled manner. The Tests of this vaccine on animals suggest the vaccine is safe and activate the immune system properly when exposed to a real infection. This is the indigenous vaccine of India, it is developed from a weak strain of the virus that was isolated locally in a laboratory.

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Director and Controller General of India, CDSCO have allowed Bharat Biotech to carry Phase 1 and Phase 2 of clinical human trials after the firm submitted results of preclinical studies, demonstrating safety and immune response. These two trials are focussing on whether the vaccine is safe, later the company will focus on the efficacy of the vaccine.

stage 3

The firm stated “The locally obtained strain of the virus was instrumental in developing the vaccine quickly. The difference between the strains presents globally is something still being researched.”

The company told “Once the vaccine is injected into a human, it has no potential to infect or replicate, since it is a killed virus. It just serves to the immune system as a dead virus and mounts an antibody response towards the virus.”

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The vaccine is named as Covaxin and has been developed in collaboration with Indian Council of Medical Research and National Institute of Virology, Pune.

Bharat Biotech has delivered more than 4 billion doses of vaccines worldwide, earlier it has developed vaccines for H1N1 and rotavirus. Bharat Biotech is not the only company in India working on a vaccine. Zydus Cadilla is developing two vaccines, while Biological E, Indian Immunologicals, and Mynvax are also working on a vaccine. Around four or five other indigenous vaccines are in early stages of development.

Serum Institute of India, Pune which is the world’s largest vaccine producer, has also partnered for mass production of a vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford.

India is one of the world’s largest manufacturer of generic drugs and vaccines. It is home to half a dozen major vaccine makers and a host of smaller ones, making doses against polio, meningitis, pneumonia, rotavirus, BCG, measles, mumps and rubella, among other diseases.

Health researchers say that a vaccine normally takes many years to develop. The process of vaccine development goes through multiple phases, but due to the utmost urgency, various Pharma firms are trying to short the period. Research experts think a SARS-COV-2 vaccine is likely to be available by mid-2021.