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Opinion

Covid-19 Vaccine Update: Bharat Biotech Begins Phase 3 Trials, Moderna Says Their Candidate Nearly 95% Effective

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The global search for a vaccine to treat the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) continues, even as the number of cases globally, due to the pandemic, currently stands at more than 55 million, including more than 1.3 million people who have succumbed to the virus. , according to a count kept by worldometers.

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In the latest updates on a coronavirus vaccine, Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Limited in India has begun phase 3 trials of its candidate vaccine. Meanwhile, America’s Moderna claimed that its vaccine candidate is 94.5% effective.

Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus vaccine development front:

(1.) Bharat Biotech began phase 3 clinical trials of its vaccine candidate, COVAXIN, on Monday. The phase 3 trials will involve 26,000 volunteers and will be carried out in partnership with the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR). This is the largest clinical trial for a Covid-19 vaccine candidate in India, as well as the country’s first phase 3 efficacy study of a vaccine candidate. Bharat Biotech is developing COVAXIN in collaboration with ICMR and the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune.

Read also | Covid-19: Bharat Biotech Starts Covaxin Phase 3 Trials in India

(2.) Also on Monday, the American biotechnology firm Moderna published the first results of a clinical trial of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273. Moderna said the candidate vaccine was 94.5% effective. However, in what could be a potential hurdle for India, mRNA candidates need an extremely cold environment for storage and transport. Last week, after Pfizer announced that its candidate was 90% effective, the director of the Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Dr. Randeep Guleria, said: “The Pfizer vaccine should be kept at less 70 degrees Celsius, which is a challenge for developing countries like India. “

Read also | Covid-19 vaccine 90% effective in phase 3 trial, says US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer

(3.) Johnson and Johnson, another American biotech company working on a potential Covid-19 vaccine, has launched a second global phase 3 vaccine trial, in addition to an existing one. This latest trial has been named ENSEMBLE 2 and differs from other trials, including the existing J&J trial, in that it will explore a 2-dose regimen; most other trials are based on a 1 dose regimen. ENSEMBLE 2 will enroll up to 30,000 participants in the US, UK, France, Germany, South Africa, Spain, Belgium, Colombia, and the Philippines.

(4) India is reportedly in discussions with various companies about their potential vaccine candidates. Government officials are said to be in talks with companies such as Moderna, Pfizer, Serum Institute of India (SII), Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadila about the progress of trials of their respective vaccine candidates, the efficacy of the vaccine, the safety. , regulatory approvals, etc.

(With contributions from the agency)

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