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Will India's coronavirus vaccines be delayed? Report says final results expected only by March 2021

Trials of at least three vaccines for the novel coronavirus are underway in India, however, the preliminary findings may come out only by January, officials involved in the trials have told ET. The final results are expected only by March, the report said, suggesting at a delay in the vaccines.

India TV News Desk India TV News Desk
New Delhi Updated on: October 13, 2020 11:03 IST
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Will India's coronavirus vaccines be delayed? Report says final results expected only by March 2021

Trials of at least three vaccines for the novel coronavirus are underway in India, however, the preliminary findings may come out only by January, officials involved in the trials have told ET. The final results are expected only by March, the report said, suggesting a delay in the vaccines. 

Back in September, Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan had said that the first vaccine for COVID-19 is likely to be available in the first quarter of 2021. "Research to develop a vaccine is being done expeditiously. There are at least three viable vaccine candidates that are in the phase of clinical trials right now in the country. We are hopeful that within first quarter of 2021 it will be available," Dr. Vardhan had said. 

COVAXIN, developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research and National Institute of Virology, has completed its Phase I Human Clinical Trial. The phase II Human Clinical Trial is ongoing, according to the latest update available on the ICMR web portal. Another vaccine candidate, Covishield, jointly being worked on by the Serum Institute of India (SII) and ICMR, is also undergoing Phase II Human Clinical Trial. On October 8, the first batch of 100 participants, in the Indian trial of the vaccine developed by University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, were inoculated.

An official aware of the developments told ET that this part of the phase-2 trial will take 28 days following which the volunteers get the second dose mid-November. After initial data is received, the number of participants will be increased to 1,600. The first results will be out only in January, the official said. Zydus Cadila, the third vaccine candidate, has also completed Phase I Human Clinical Trial and is now conducting the second phase. 

Principal investigators involved in the process told ET that the final phase of trials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca candidate and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin will take some time. 

One principal investigator said that he sees the possibility of completion of phase-3 trials only by February-March. "Large-scale population base trials are needed. We have to compare a group of people who are administered the vaccine with another set of people who are not given the vaccine to see rate of infection. Having antibodies is not an answer – it must be seen if the rate of infection is substantially low in those given the vaccine. I see the possibility of completion of phase-3 trials only by February-March.

"Large-scale population base trials are needed. We have to compare a group of people who are administered the vaccine with another set of people who are not given the vaccine to see rate of infection. Having antibodies is not an answer - it must be seen if the rate of infection is substantially low in those given the vaccine. I see the possibility of completion of phase-3 trials only by February-March," he told ET

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