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India's first COVID-19 vaccine COVAXIN: Here is everything you want to know

COVAXIN is India’s 'first' indigenous COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR and NIV

June 30, 2020 / 07:33 PM IST

Amid the surging novel coronavirus cases in India, the country's 'first' indigenous COVID-19 vaccine COVAXIN has got the nod for human clinical trials from the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI).

India registered 18,522 new COVID-19 cases in a single day, taking the country’s case count to 5,66,840 while the death toll rose to 16,893 with 418 new fatalities, according to the Union Health Ministry data released on June 30.

The number of active cases stands at 2,15,125, while 3,34,821 people have recovered, and one patient has migrated, according to the updated ministry’s data.

Considering the rising number of the novel coronavirus infection, some Indian companies are working on a vaccine for the deadly coronavirus while similar efforts are underway in different countries.

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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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Among these Indian companies, Bharat Biotech has developed COVAXIN. Here is all you need to know about the drug and its clinical trial:

> COVAXIN is India’s 'first' indigenous COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV).

> The indigenous and inactivated COVID-19 vaccine has been developed at Bharat Biotech’s BSL-3 (Bio-Safety Level 3) high containment facility located in the Genome Valley in Hyderabad.

> The DGCI, CDSCO (Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation), and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare granted permission to initiate Phase I and II human clinical trials after the company submitted results generated from pre-clinical studies, demonstrating safety and immune response.

> The Phase I and Phase II clinical trials of the vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 are scheduled to start across India in July.

(With inputs from PTI)

Follow our full coverage on COVID-19 here.

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first published: Jun 30, 2020 11:46 am