By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: July 2, 2020 8:37:54 pm

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Vaccine Latest Update: The Indian drug regulator has allowed Bharat Biotech to conduct human clinical trials for ‘Covaxin’

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Vaccine Latest Update: Although a typical vaccine can take years to get off the ground, the news of Oxford University-AstraZeneca candidate entering late-stage trials, with 8,000 volunteers already enrolled, has raised hopes of an earlier than expected arrival of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Besides, in a major development for India, the drug regulator has allowed Bharat Biotech to conduct human clinical trials for ‘Covaxin’, making it the first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine candidate to receive this approval.

Moreover, there have also been encouraging results from trials conducted by German biotech firm BioNTech and Pfizer and Inovio Pharmaceuticals for their respective experimental Covid-19 vaccines.

Currently, about 140 vaccines are in different stages of trials around the world. According to the World Health Organisation, 16 vaccines candidates have entered late-stage trials-clinical trials. Of these 16, five are being studied in China, three in the US, two in the UK and one each in Australia, Germany and Russia.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccines status check, latest updates

💉 Oxford University-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine status

A leading scientist behind the Oxford University’s potential Covid-19 vaccine, which is undergoing phase III trails, has said the jab has been considered safe even for people with a weak immune system.

“We have removed some of the adenovirus genes so that when we use it as a vaccine, the adenovirus can’t spread through the body. That makes it very safe, even in people with a weak immune system. But because it is still a live virus, it is good at inducing a strong immune response after vaccination,” said Professor Sarah Gilbert, Nuffield Department of Medicine, Oxford University, while participating in an informal discussion with ambassadors of the UN member states.

Meanwhile, the AZD1222 vaccine is already being used on about 5,000 volunteers in Brazil’s first clinical trial of the Oxford candidate. Simultaneously, it is also undergoing trials in the UK and South Africa.

The Oxford vaccine technology is based on an adenovirus, a virus that causes mild upper respiratory tract infections.

💉 Inovio Pharmaceuticals coronavirus vaccine status

US biotech firm Inovio Pharmaceuticals, part of the Donald Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed program, recently reported that its experimental Covid-19 vaccine had shown encouraging results in preliminary clinical trials.

The firm claimed that its INO-4800, a DNA vaccine, triggered an immune response in 94 per cent of volunteers who completed the phase 1 clinical trial, AFP reported. Inovio now plans to start a combined Phase 2/3 trial to assess the efficacy of the vaccine.

In the phase 1 trial, Inovio administered the vaccine to 40 healthy adult volunteers between 18 to 50 years of age. Results showed that the vaccine was generally safe and well-tolerated in all participants. The company plans to have 1 million doses of the vaccine by the end of 2020.

The vaccine is designed to precisely match the DNA sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The vaccine is patterned to inject DNA into a person so as to set off a specific immune system response against the novel coronavirus.

Global Coronavirus Updates, 02 July: Healthcare workers take a break amid the Covid-19 stress. Currently, about 140 vaccines are in different stages of trials around the world (AP)

💉 BioNTech-Pfizer coronavirus vaccine status

The vaccine candidate developed by German biotech firm BioNTech and US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has been found to be well tolerated in early-stage human trials, Reuters reported.

BioNTech said testing of two dosages of its BNT162b1 drug on 24 healthy volunteers showed that after 28 days they had developed higher levels of Covid-19 antibodies than seen in infected people.

“These first trial results show that the vaccine yields immune activity and causes a strong immune response,” Reuters quoted BioNTech’s co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Ugur Sahin as saying.

The next stage will see the vaccine undergoing trials on 30,000 healthy participants, which is likely to begin in the United States and Europe in late July.

BioNTech-Pfizer are gearing up to make up to 100 million doses by the end of 2020 and another 1.2 billion doses by the end of 2021 in Germany and the United States.

💉 CanSino Biologics coronavirus vaccine status

The vaccine candidate developed by CanSino Biologics has been approved for use by China’s military after clinical trials proved it was safe and somewhat efficient, Reuters reported.

The Ad5-nCoV vaccine, one of the eight vaccine candidates being developed by China, has won approval for human testing in Canada.

China’s Central Military Commission approved the use of the vaccine by the military on June 25 for a period of one year, CanSino said in a filing. The Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials showed the vaccine candidate has potential to prevent diseases caused by the coronavirus.

The vaccine candidate developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research’s National Institute of Virology (NIV), named Covaxin, is set to undergo human trials across India in July.

The permission by the drug controller was granted after the company submitted results from pre-clinical studies of the “inactivated” vaccine, which demonstrated its safety and immune response, said Bharat Biotech in its release.

“At the moment we are not sure how the vaccine is going to perform in the humans, as clinical trials are about to commence. Based on the success results of phase I and phase II, we will progress to the larger clinical trials. Thereafter, the licensure timelines will be set out upon receiving regulatory approvals,” said BBIL.

Other Indian firms engaged in the development of Covid-19 vaccines include Zydus Cadila, Serum Institute of India and, since the beginning of this month, Panacea Biotec.

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