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Coronavirus vaccine update: AstraZeneca-Oxford trials not paused in India, says Serum Institute

Among coronavirus vaccines currently under development, the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is seen as one of the most promising candidates.

September 09, 2020 / 09:47 PM IST

Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) on September 9 said the trials of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine have not been paused in India, adding that the vaccine candidate's trials in the United Kingdom had been put on hold.

"We (Serum Institute of India) can't comment on reports of AstraZeneca pausing the trials in the UK, other than that they have been paused for review and shall restart soon. The Indian trials are continuing and we have faced no issues at all," SII has said.

This comes after the pharma company said on September 8 that the company's "our standard review process was triggered and we voluntarily paused vaccination to allow review of safety data by an independent committee," as reported by American news website Stat.

The late-stage trials of the highly-anticipated COVID-19 vaccine candidate have been put on a temporary hold due to an adverse reaction in a participant in the UK. AstraZeneca is now investigating if the report of a patient with a serious side effect is linked to the shot.

Temporary holds of large medical studies aren’t unusual, and investigating any serious or unexpected reaction is a mandatory part of safety testing. AstraZeneca pointed out that it’s possible the problem could be a coincidence; illnesses of all sorts could arise in studies of thousands of people.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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From among the vaccines that are currently under development, the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is being seen as one of the most promising  candidates against the novel coronavirus infection.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Sep 9, 2020 04:07 pm
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