India-made COVID-19 vaccine could be launched as early as February: Government scientist

Covaxin can be the savior in 2021

An Indian-based COVID-19 vaccine could be launched as early as February as last-stage trials begin in November and studies have so far shown it is safe and effective, a senior government scientist told Reuters.

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Bharat Biotech, a private company that is developing COVAXIN with the government-run Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), had earlier hoped to launch it only in the second quarter of 2021.

“The vaccine has shown good efficacy,” senior ICMR scientist Rajni Kant, who is also a member of its COVID-19 task-force, said at the research body’s New Delhi headquarters on Thursday.

“It is expected that by the beginning of next year, February or March, something would be available.”

 

A launch in February would make COVAXIN the first India-made vaccine to be rolled out.

India’s cases of coronavirus infections rose by 50,201 cases on Thursday to 8.36 million. The death toll stands at 704, with a total of 124,315.

Kant, who is the head of ICMR’s research management, policy, planning, and coordination cell, said it was up to the health ministry to decide if COVAXIN shots can be given to people even before the third-stage trials are over.

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Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said in September the government was considering granting an emergency authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine, particularly for the elderly and people in high-risk workplaces.

Several leading vaccine candidates are already in final-stage testing. An experimental vaccine developed by Britain’s AstraZeneca is among the most advanced ones, and Britain expects to roll it out in late December or early 2021.

Source: The Economic Times

Edited by: Rebecca Ann Gerard