Featured image: Representative image of a vaccine. Photo: ps_sahana/Flickr, CC BY 2.0
Hyderabad: The country’s ‘first’ indigenous COVID-19 vaccine COVAXIN, developed by city-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV), has got the nod for human clinical trials from the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI), the company said on Monday.
The Phase I and Phase II clinical trials of the vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, approved after pre-clinical studies demonstrated safety and immune response, would start across the country next month.
The collaboration with ICMR and NIV was instrumental in the development of the vaccine, the company said in a release.
The indigenous and inactivated vaccine has been developed at Bharat Biotechs BSL-3 (Bio-Safety Level 3) high containment facility located in the Genome Valley here, a release said.
The DGCI’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), which comes under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, granted permission to initiate Phase I & II Human clinical trials after the company submitted results generated from pre-clinical studies, demonstrating safety and immune response. Human clinical trials are scheduled to start across India in July 2020, the release said.
The company’s chairman and managing director, Dr Krishna Ella 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 has enabled approvals to this project. Our R&D and Manufacturing teams worked tirelessly to deploy our proprietary technologies towards this platform,” he said.
Expedited through the national regulatory protocols, the company accelerated its objective in completing the comprehensive pre-clinical studies.
Results from these studies have been promising and show extensive safety and effective immune responses, the release added.
Besides Bharat Biotech, at least five other Indian companies are working on a vaccine for the coronavirus while similar efforts are underway in different countries.