COVID-19 vaccine update: Nine candidates being tested in India, Oxford phase 3 results out, first Pfizer shot given

While a lot is still unknown about SARS-CoV-2, the race for the first vaccine seems to be coming to a culmination with the beginning of the mass vaccination programme in the UK on Tuesday.

Myupchar December 09, 2020 15:54:12 IST
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COVID-19 vaccine update: Nine candidates being tested in India, Oxford phase 3 results out, first Pfizer shot given

Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech recently announced that its vaccine appears 95 percent effective at preventing mild to severe COVID-19 disease in a large, ongoing study. AP

COVID-19 has affected over 68 million people in the world so far. Of these, over 47 million have recovered and more than 1.5 million have died.

While a lot is still unknown about SARS-CoV-2, the race for the first vaccine seems to be coming to a culmination with the beginning of the mass vaccination programme in the UK on Tuesday. Starting with a 90-year-old woman and followed by a man named William Shakespeare and an Indian couple, many have reportedly received the shots of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in the country. The vaccine is reportedly under review with the Drug Controller General of India for emergency use authorization and may be available soon.

Meanwhile, the results of the phase III trials of the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine have been released in The Lancet, suggesting the safety and efficacy of the candidate vaccine.

Here is all you need to know about the current status of COVID-19 vaccines.

Indian scenario

As per a tweet by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, about nine vaccines are currently being worked upon in India. Eight of them are listed below.

1. Vaccines in phase III trial that have applied for emergency use authorisation:

  • Covishield: The Astrazeneca vaccine that is being manufactured by the Serum Institute in India. 
  • Covaxin: Manufactured by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). 

Phase III trials for the Novavax candidate NVX-CoV-2373 are currently under consideration in India. It will be manufactured by the Serum Institute in India.

2. Vaccines in phase II trials:

  • ZyCoV-D: Being manufactured and produced by Cadila Healthcare and the Department of Biotechnology in India. 
  • Sputnik V: The Russian vaccine candidate that is being manufactured by Dr. Reddy’s lab in India. It will enter phase III trials next week.

Three candidates including an inactivated rabies vector vaccine by Bharat Biotech, an mRNA-based vaccine by Genova Biotech, Pune and a recombinant protein-based vaccine by Biological E Ltd., Hyderabad are in the preclinical phase.

Oxford vaccine results

On 8 December, The Lancet released interim results of the phase III trials of the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine candidate called ChAdOx1. The analysis includes safety data from the four ongoing randomised, blinded trials (that include over 23,000 people) of the vaccine in the UK, South Africa and Brazil.

About 11,636 participants were included in the interim primary efficacy trial, over 7,500 from the UK and rest from Brazil. All the volunteers were above the age of 18 and received either a dose of the ChAdOx1 vaccine or a control (meningococcal vaccine). The ChAdOx1 group received two doses of the vaccine containing 5 X1010 viral particles. However, some participants in the UK received a lower than standard first dose and a standard second dose. Here are the interim results of the study:

  • The vaccine was effective in protecting against symptomatic infection in about 70% of the cases. 
  • In the standard dose arm, the vaccine was about 62% effective while the efficacy was at 90% in the UK arm wherein a lower than standard first dose was given. 
  • Three people, out of over 23,000 people in the UK, South Africa and Brazil, showed adverse effects, one of them being in the control arm. These people have either recovered or are recovering and are still included in the trial.
  • An efficacy of about 4% was found against asymptomatic transmission of the disease. However, this data still needs to be confirmed with more results from the trial.

The study concluded that the vaccine, that is still in the phase III trials, is safe and effective against symptomatic COVID-19 .

For more information, read our article on COVID-19 vaccine.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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