As India's COVID-19 cases continue to surge by nearly a lakh every passing day, scientists are racing to get a vaccine ready as soon as possible.
Now, as part of this effort, Adar Poonawalla-led Serum Institute of India is set to begin the final phase of human trials for the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.
Here is all about it.
As reported by PTI, the third phase of human trials for the vaccine candidate, named Covishield, is set to begin this week.
The study will be conducted at the state-run Sassoon hospital in Pune, according to the report, which cited Dr. Muralidhar Tambe, the dean of the facility.
Dr. Tambe said that it is likely that trials might begin from Monday itself.
The hospital began enrolling volunteers for the trial from September 19 (Saturday).
"Some volunteers have already come forward for the trial," Dr. Tambe said, adding that "Around 150 to 200 volunteers will be administered the vaccine candidate dose."
He went on to note that "Those who are willing to volunteer for the vaccination should contact the hospital."
Notably, the Phase-2 trial of the vaccine started last month at Bharti Vidyapeeth Medical College and KEM Hospital in Pune, although the results of the study are yet to be published.
As the work on the trial continues, SII is also moving ahead with at-risk manufacturing of the vaccine so that sufficient doses are available by the time of regulatory approvals.
Poonawalla, the CEO of the drugmaker, had previously said that if all goes according to the plan, the shot might become available for people in India by the end of this year.
The initial Phase-1/2 trial data of the Oxford vaccine showed that the shot is safe and capable of inducing dual immunity against COVID-19 in people aged between 18 and 55. The Indian trial data is expected to confirm the same for the local population.
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