The race to formulate a coronavirus vaccine has heated up. India too is catching up with two of its homegrown COVID vaccine candidates under human trial. A third series of trials will be undertaken for the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate that is being manufactured by Serum Institute of India. The two Indian coronavirus vaccine candidates Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN and Zydus Cadila's vaccine ZyCoV-D are currently under trial in six cities.
Zydus Cadila's ZyCoV-D is currently being tested in its research centre at Ahmedabad. The trials will soon be expanded to other cities. Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN is being tested in Hyderabad, Patna, Rohtak, Delhi and Kancheepuram. It will be expanded to Nagpur, Bhubaneswar, Belgaum, Gorakhpur, Kanpur, Goa and Visakhapatnam.
Meanwhile, Serum Institute of India will start trials of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine by the end of August. Up to 5,000 Indian volunteers would be included in the tests.
On Friday, the first dose of COVAXIN was given to a 30-year-old healthy man at AIIMS Delhi as part of its first two phases of trials. The volunteer was checked on in an interval of two hours. "All trial participants will be monitored every day for the first seven days. They will then be followed-up on day 14 and day 28. They will be tracked for up to a year to observe any long-term impacts," said Dr Puneet Misra, one of the investigators of the trial at AIIMS.
The coronavirus vaccine is being administered in two doses - 0.3 mg and 0.5 mg. The latter is being administered with two adjuvants. Of the 100 volunteers, 80 will received different doses, while 80 will receive placebo.
Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences in Rohtak has started human trials of the vaccine too. Around 20 subjects have been enrolled so far. State nodal officer Dhruva Chaudhary said, "None of the 20 volunteers showed any adverse impact of the vaccine. We are planning to start the second phase of human trials soon." The first batch of volunteers would receive the second dose on July 31.
COVAXIN trials have also begun at Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) in Hyderabad. As many as 30 volunteers have registered for the trials. Two days after receiving the vaccine, subjects would be monitored by a team of doctors in the Intensive Critical Care Unit (ICCU) before they are discharged.
Human trials have begun at SRM Medical College Hospital and Research Centre in Kancheepuram as well. The second dose would be administered on Day 14.
Two private hospitals in Uttar Pradesh - Prakhar Hospital in Kanpur and Rana Hospital and Trauma Centre in Gorakhpur - will also begin human trials of COVAXIN soon. Prakhar Hospital is looking at a sample size of 50 people in the first phase and another 150 in the second phase of the human trial.
COVAXIN is scheduled to be administered on 11 volunteers from Goa at Redkar Hospital on Saturday. Phase I would involve 50 volunteers.