Ever since the landscape of the modern world was shaken by the COVID 19 pandemic, everyone has been asking the same question: “Where is the vaccine?” Now, w may finally have an answer to that, even though the “when” might still be some way down the road. Indian firm Bharat Biotech’s ‘Covaxin’, the culminations of India’s efforts to come up with a vaccine, passed a huge milestone today, as it gained the approval of Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) to conduct Phase I and Phase II human trials.
The vaccine, which saw Bharat Biotech collaborating with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV), has been developed and manufactured at Bharat Biotech’s BSL-3 (Bio-Safety Level 3) High Containment facility located in Genome Valley, Hyderabad, India. After the vaccine showed satisfactory results in clinical trials, demonstrating safety and immune response, DGCI approved it for human trials, which may start as soon as July.
The clinical trials showed the vaccine’s efficacy to contain the virus, all while proving “safe” for use.
Bharat Biotech has been a prominent name in the Indian vaccination market. Over the course of its lifetime, it has produced vaccines for polio, rabies, rotavirus, Japanese Encephalitis, Chikungunya and Zika. Dr Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director of the company said, “We are proud to announce COVAXIN, India’s first indigenous vaccine against COVID-19. The collaboration with ICMR and NIV was instrumental in the development of this vaccine. The proactive support and guidance from CDSCO have enabled approvals to this project. Our R&D and Manufacturing teams worked tirelessly to deploy our proprietary technologies towards this platform.”
However, this is not the only milestone India has passed today. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation today, and talked at length about “Unlock 2.0”, the second phase of India’s upliftment of the country wide lockdown. The announcement brought along relaxations in the night curfew, more domestic flights and trains, and clearance for more than five people in a shop. However, schools and colleges, along with gymnasiums, cinema halls, and swimming pools will not open up yet.
It’s also worth noting that COVAXIN is not the only hope of a vaccine we have. Many companies globally are scrambling to develop a cure, the most of popular of them being Moderna, which recently got the approval for its final phase of testing earlier this month.