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COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker: A timeline of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin novel coronavirus vaccine

Restricted use approval for two COVID-19 vaccines in India paves the way for authorities to start vaccinating the masses. The government has planned vaccination of 25-30 crore people by July

January 03, 2021 / 02:14 PM IST
Representative image

Representative image

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on January 3 granted restricted emergency use authorisation (EUA) for two COVID-19 vaccines – Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Serum Institute of India’s Covishield.

Developed by Bharat Biotech, Covaxin – is India’s first indigenous vaccine against COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

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The approval came a day after the COVID-19 Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) reportedly recommended grating emergency use authorisation for the vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech. The SEC had also recommended speeding up the process of considering indigenous COVID-19 vaccine candidates being developed by SII, Bharat Biotech and Cadila Healthcare.

Here is a timeline of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin vaccine developement:

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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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> June 30, 2020 – DCGI approves COVAXIN for human trials, making it the country's first domestic vaccine candidate.

> July 3 – A leaked letter by an official at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said the agency aims to launch a COVID-19 vaccine by India’s Independence Day on August 15. This, however, led to questions from some health experts about the short timeline.

> July 3 – Bharat Biotech shares its target of producing up to 300 million doses of the vaccine if its trials succeed.

> July 4 - ICMR says its decision to fast-track development of the potential coronavirus vaccine is in line with international standards.

> October 23 – Bharat Biotech says it is in discussions with more than 10 countries that have shown an interest in its vaccine candidate. It says phase-1 and 2 trials have found the vaccine to be safe.

> November 01 – Bharat Biotech says it is planning to launch the vaccine in the second quarter of 2021.

> November 16 – The company says it is starting phase-3 trials.

> November 20 – Bharat Biotech offers Brazil the vaccine and a possible technology-transfer partnership.

Check here for the latest updates on all COVID-19 vaccines

> December 07 – Bharat Biotech seeks emergency use approval for Covaxin.

> December 22 – United States-based drug developer Ocugen Inc. says it has partnered with Bharat Biotech to co-develop the vaccine candidate for the US market.

> January 2 – Experts at India’s drug regulator approve the vaccine “for restricted use in emergency situation in public interest as an abundant precaution, in clinical trial mode, especially in the context of infection by mutant strains”.

> January 3 - Covaxin and Covishield granted restricted EUA by DCGI.

This restricted use approval paves the way for Indian authorities to start vaccinating the masses. The government has planned vaccination of 25-30 crore people by July, 2021.

As of January 3, India had reported more than 1.03 crore confirmed COVID-19 cases. The death toll from the outbreak in the country stood at 1.49 lakh. While more than 99.27 lakh patients had recovered, 2.49 lakh cases remained ‘active’. Globally, more than 8.4 crore individuals have been infected by the virus and over 18.3 lakh people have died so far.

Follow our full COVID-19 coverage here
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jan 3, 2021 02:14 pm

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