As we write this, India has surpassed Brazil in the number of coronavirus cases and has now become the world’s second worst-hit nation by the coronavirus pandemic. Amidst the news of the first batch of Russian COVID-19 vaccine being produced for civilian circulation, India is also gearing up for Phase III trials of the Russian vaccine candidate. According to the latest report published in the UK-based Science journal The Lancet, the Russian vaccine candidate induced an antibody response in all the participants of the early-stage trials.

Moscow-based Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology will now submit comprehensive data on the safety and efficacy of the Russian vaccine candidates to the Indian authorities, according to a report published in the Indian Express. As per the report published in Lancet, ‘Sputnik V’ triggered a significant immune system in the volunteers who participated in Phase II of human trials. During the first phase of the clinical trials, volunteers were given only 1 dose of the Russian vaccine, while in the second phase, they were given a second shot, after 21 days.

In addition to India, Russia is also planning to commence last stage trials in Saudi Arabia, United States of Emirates, Philippines, and Brazil. The media reports also state that the results of the preliminary trials of the Russian vaccine can be expected by October-November end.

Other vaccine candidates in India

In India, the Phase III trials of the vaccine candidate developed by Oxford University and the drugmaker AstraZeneca started on August 26 2020. Pune-based Serum Insitute of India was given the go-ahead to conduct the critical last-stage trials of Oxford vaccine in around 1,600 volunteers. These trials will be conducted in 17 medical institutes across the nation.

The second vaccine candidate to look forward to in India is the country’s first homegrown vaccine for COVID-19, namely ‘Covaxin’. The vaccine candidate has been jointly by developed Bharat Biotech International Limited, National Institute of Virology, Pune in collaboration with Indian Council of Medical Research. It is slated to enter the second phase of human trials by the end of this week.

‘ZyCov-D’ by Zydus Cadila is currently in Phase I and II of human trials after it was found to be safe and well-tolerated in the first stage human trials. Additionally, vaccine candidates by Baylor College of Medicine and Biological E and Gennova Biopharmaceuticals and HDT Bio are expected to start human trials in India in the new few months.

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