Bharat Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate Covaxin can be launched as early as February as latest tests on final-stage clinical trials and studies have so far showed it is safe and effective, according to a report.
The last stage trials of Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN begin this month and have shown positive results so far. COVAXIN is being developed by Bharat Biotech with the government medical body Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and is following the prescribed guidelines for the same. The vaccine was estimated to launch only in the second quarter of 2021, but with its current potency, officials state earlier possibilities.
“The vaccine has shown good efficacy. It is expected that by the beginning of next year, February or March, something would be available” said senior ICMR scientist Rajni Kant, who is a member of COVID-19 task force told Reuters.
Kant also holds the position of the head of research management, planning and policy at ICMR and suggested that the Health Ministry can decide if COVAXIN shots can be given to people before the end of last phase of trials.
“It has shown safety and efficacy in the phase 1 and 2 trials and in the animal studies, so it is safe but you can’t be 100% sure unless the phase 3 trials are over. There may be some risk, if you are ready to take the risk, you can take the vaccine. If necessary, the government can think of giving the vaccine in an emergency situation” Kant stated.
A few weeks earlier, the Health Ministry was considering an emergency grant for the vaccine for the elderly and severely affected people.
As the race for vaccines speeds up globally, some firms have completed their last phase of trials and some are inching closer. Currently, the vaccine developed by Oxford University and Britain’s AstraZeneca is projected to be the first vaccine to hit the market. The vaccine has completed its last leg of trials and can be rolled out as early as the end of December 2020. The vaccine has been approved so far by the Serum Institute of India and can be expected in India as early as January 2021. If COVAXIN is launched in February, it would be India’s first vaccine in the country.
Serum Institute of India has partnered with AstraZeneca and Novovax to manufacture vaccines. Apart from this, it has secured to buy leading vaccines at large doses. According to recent data compiled by Duke Global Health Innovation Centre, India has pre-ordered 600 million vaccines and is now aiming to order 1 billion more. American based Novovax has stated to launch their vaccine in the first quarter of 2021 as well.
Other last stage vaccines globally are the ones coming from Pfizer, Moderna Inc, Johnson and Johnson, and BioNTech SE.