Hyderabad: With the number of Covid-19 cases on the rise continuously, the search for a vaccine has also gained priority for the countries across the world. Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech has successfully developed COVAXIN, a potential Covid-19 vaccine, which has been given Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) approval for Phase I and II human clinical trials. The trials are scheduled to start across the country in July.

The vaccine is being developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology (NIV). COVAXIN is indigenous, an inactivated vaccine developed and manufactured in Bharat Biotech’s BSL-3 (Bio-Safety Level 3) high containment facility located in Genome Valley, Hyderabad.

“This is India’s first indigenous vaccine against Covid-19. The support from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) has enabled approvals to this project,” said Dr. Krishna Ella, MD Bharat Biotech. The DCGI gave permission to the company after the company submitted the results generated from pre-clinical studies, demonstrating safety and immune response.

WHO has identified AstraZeneca and Moderna Inc as front runners at the international-level. AstraZeneca has already begun mid-stage human trials, under the supervision of the University of Oxford.

Moderna will enter phase-III of its trials in July for its mRNA-based vaccine. The mRNA vaccine being developed by Pfizer, in association with BNTECH is on Phase-I and II human trials. Having got the approval from the DCGI, COVAXIN will be the first vaccine to go for human trials in India.

The WHO’s emergencies programme head, Mike Ryan, on Monday (June 29) said, “efforts have been made towards finding a safe and effective vaccine to prevent infection but there is still no guarantee that these efforts would succeed.” The WHO hopes that vaccine for
Covid-19 will be available before the end of this year.

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