Doses of the potential coronavirus vaccine developed by researchers at Oxford University arrived at the Bharti Vidyapeeth’s Medical College in Pune for phase-2 clinical human trials on Tuesday, an official said. The trial is very likely to begin from today (Wednesday), said a top official of the institute, one of the 17 sites selected for the phase 2 human trials in the country by Serum Institute of India (SII). “To start with we have identified five volunteers who will undergo COVID-19 and antibodies test. Those whose reports are negative will be shortlisted for vaccination on Wednesday,” said Dr. Sanjay Lalwani, Medical Director, Bharti Vidyapeeth’s Medical College and Hospital and Research Centre.
He said the hospital has been given a target of enlisting 300 to 350 volunteers. Those chosen for receiving a dose of vaccine will be in the age group of 18 to 99 years, he added.
Dr. Jeetendra Oswal, deputy medical director of the hospital, said after they are administered the vaccine, the volunteers will be monitored as per the standard trial protocol.
The other hospitals where trials are to be conducted include BJ Medical College Hospital in Pune, AIIMS Delhi, Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences in Patna, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, Nehru Hospital in Gorakhpur and Andhra Medical College in Visakhapatnam.
SII, the world’s largest vaccine maker, has signed an agreement to manufacture the potential vaccine developed by the Jenner Institute of Oxford University in collaboration with British-Swedish pharma company AstraZeneca.
The other site of phase 2 trial in the city, BJ Medical College (to which the Sassoon General Hospital is attached), is ready and waiting for the vaccine candidate to arrive, a top official said.
“We have completed all the administrative procedures required to conduct the human trials of the vaccine. We are now waiting for the doses,” said college Dean Dr Murlidhar Tambe.
“Ideally, the trials should start next week,” he added.