As the coronavirus pandemic is sweeping through the country with cases rising by the day, the race for a COVID-19 vaccine is gathering momentum in India.
India’s indigenous COVID-19 vaccine candidate, Covaxin is also making the headlines as the phase III trials are permitted to be conducted in two cities in Uttar Pradesh—Lucknow and Gorakhpur.
Covaxin is currently being tested by Bharat Biotech Ltd in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The permission was conveyed by the Additional Chief Secretary (Health and Medicine) Amit Mohan Prasad in a letter to Bharat Biotech International Limited’s director V Krishna Mohan.
“Kindly refer to your letter dated September 19, 2020, for permission and facilitation to initiate the COVAXIN Phase 3 Efficacy and Safety clinical trials in Uttar Pradesh. It has been decided to allow Bharat Biotech to conduct the Phase-3 trial in Lucknow and Gorakhpur,” Prasad said in his letter.
The nodal officer for the phase-3 trials of the Bharat Biotech’s Coronavirus vaccine in Lucknow is Dr. R K Dhiman, the director of Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences. The nodal officer for Gorakhpur is Dr. Ganesh Kumar, the Principal of BRD Medical College.
The subjects will have to obtain all permissions themselves and all safety and other protocols will have to be followed as per the guidelines of the Government of India for conducting clinical trials, said Prasad.
Covaxin is Indiancounterpart to a global vaccine race, which is indigenously developed against COVID-19. The vaccine is being developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV). Besides Covaxin, India has two more vaccine candidates that are concurrently making progress. One is the Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila’s ZyCoV-D while the other is developed by the Serum Institute of India in collaboration with the Oxford University vaccine and UK’s Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca