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Opinion

Covid-19 vaccine update: COVAXIN trials in Gujarat, AstraZeneca admits ‘mistake’

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The global burden of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases has passed the 60 million mark, according to a worldometer tally, even as the global search for a vaccine to help treat the disease continues. With the virus claiming more than 1.4 million lives worldwide, according to worldometers, the need for a vaccine is increasingly felt.

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Even when countries like India, as well as the United States, prepare a vaccine distribution plan, because once a candidate is finally approved by health regulators, here are the latest updates on the coronavirus vaccine front:

1. The vaccine candidate from Bharat Biotech International Limited has arrived in Gujarat for phase 3 trials. The Sola civil hospital in Ahmedabad is among the 130 centers across the country selected for the phase three COVAXIN trials, said HG Koshia , Commissioner of the Gujarat Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA). Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, which has developed COVAXIN in partnership with the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), announced last week the start of the third phase of trials, the first candidate in India to reach this stage.

2. UK-based AstraZeneca, which is working on a vaccine candidate with the University of Oxford, in a statement on Wednesday acknowledged a “mistake” that is sure to raise questions about its candidate’s preliminary results. In a late phase analysis, participants received a full dose of the candidate, AZD1222; the efficacy was found to be 62%. This is in contrast to the previous 90% efficacy found for the group that received a half-dose dose.

3. A leading Chinese vaccine maker, China National Biotec Group Company, has approached Chinese health regulators to bring its candidate to market, state media Xinhua Finance reported on Wednesday. The app is likely to include data from the company’s phase three human trials in the Middle East and South America.

4. The American Pfizer Inc has started the process to register its Covid-19 vaccine in Brazil, presenting the results of the tests of its candidate vaccine to the country’s health regulators. “This is an important step for the vaccine to be available in Brazil,” said a company statement in Portuguese. Pfizer is developing BNT162b2 with BioNTech SE of Germany.

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