India to Start First Coronavirus Vaccine Trials

Recently, Bharat Biotech’s vaccine for coronavirus has been approved for testing in clinical trials with humans in India. The vaccine, known as Covaxin, is the first to pass for further testing by the Indian government’s drug regulation department and is expected to show positive effects as the number of cases pass half a million in the country.

Covaxin, which was developed by a collaboration between the Indian Council of Medical Research’s National Institute of Virology and Bharat Biotech in the company’s facility located in  Genome Valley in Hyderabad, has received approval from the Drug Controller General of India.

Phase I and Phase II trials testing the vaccine are being set up and are to begin very soon, as reported by the company in a statement on Monday. The tentative timeline for the trials shows that Covaxin testing will be done across India shortly in July.

The plan is to start Phase I as soon as possible as the rate of coronavirus transmission in the country has been very high. Currently, India is in the top four countries with the highest number of coronavirus cases along with the United States, Russia, and Brazil.

In the past few weeks, the country’s Federal Ministry of Health has also reported record highs in different provinces. Statistically, a total of twenty thousand infections were diagnosed in a span of twenty-four hours last Monday.

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At the same time, the death toll of India has remained significantly lower in comparison with the US or other countries. Up till now, approximately sixteen thousand people’s deaths have been recorded since the first case of coronavirus was diagnosed in January, which is considerably low.

However, health experts in India have warned that this does not mean that the threat of the virus is also not as high. Additionally, it should also be noted that the death toll may appear to be low simply due to the shortcomings in reporting and recording.

In a country that is as densely populated as India, it can be difficult to report new cases and the number of deaths. India, with a population of 1.3 billion people, is currently at perhaps the highest risk of coronavirus infection and related complications.

In comparison with other countries, it can be much harder to control the transmission in India as the vast majority remains highly susceptible to the virus. Secondly, most of the hospitals in the country are likely to be unable to accommodate a large number of patients.

Some areas reportedly do not even have basic health facilities and hospitals, making it more difficult to contain a highly contagious pathogen like coronavirus and an overall pandemic.

Read more on the development of vaccine for coronavirus here. 

The vaccine for coronavirus, therefore, has raised hopes significantly in the general population as well as among the medical community of India.

At the moment, no vaccine around the world has received approval for commercial use. Currently, China is the first one to use a vaccine developed by CanSino Biologics and its own research unit after it was proven to be safe for usage and effective in controlling the coronavirus infection.


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