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Govt expert panel to review Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin today

BusinessToday.In     January 2, 2021

A panel of government experts will today review Covaxin's emergency use application. The COVID-19 vaccine has been developed by Indian biotechnology firm Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the country's top medical research organisation - Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR).

Experts will review the indigenously developed vaccine a day after the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) had recommended Serum-Oxford's Covishield COVID-19 vaccine to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for emergency use authorisation. Three COVID-19 vaccine developers have applied for emergency use approval in the country.

Serum Institute of India is mass manufacturing the Covishield vaccine which was developed by Oxford University in collaboration with pharma giant AstraZeneca. Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine has already been approved by WHO experts, but the company has sought more time to present their data to the panel of Indian government experts.

Meanwhile, Bharat Biotech is currently in the process of recruiting volunteers for the final trials of their vaccine. Centres, including those in Delhi and Mumbai, have reported that they are not getting enough volunteers for the trials. Bharat Biotech has even extended the date for registrations which are currently still going on. The company was initially expected to complete the trials by December 31.

Till December 22, Bharat Biotech was only able to involve 13,000 volunteers despite their target being 26,000 for the final stage trials, according to company officials, reports NDTV.

Covaxin isn't likely to get approval from the expert panel right now, according to experts, as Bharat Biotech does not have complete Phase 3 data on the efficacy of their vaccine, reports NDTV. Phase 1 and Phase 2 data has shown that Covaxin is safe for administration and has no side effects.

Also Read: Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine Covishield may get emergency use approval today

Also Read: 'COVID-19 vaccine will be free across the country,' says Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan

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