Covid-19: Oxford vaccine phase three results by November-December
The results of phase three trials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine being conducted in India could be available by “end-November-early December”, raising hopes that the leading anti-Covid candidate – manufactured in India by the Serum Institute – may be available sooner than expected.
The government’s view of a possible time-line came even as it warned that large gatherings during the upcoming festival season could become “super-spreaders” of Covid-9 infection and urged that use of masks, social distancing and hand wash be followed rigorously.
Niti Aayog member Dr V K Paul said vaccine candidates are progressing well in clinical trials. Apart from the Oxford candidate, two local candidates – developed by Bharat Biotech and Cadila Healthcare – are in advanced phase 2 trials and results are expected by early November, after which strategy for the next phase will be formulated.
ICMR chief Dr Balram Bhargava said changes in the virus are not likely to affect the efficacy of the vaccines as these were minute, described as “vaccine drift” rather than “vaccine shift” which usually takes a decade and then requires an altered vaccine response.
“Many countries are seeing a second peak and the number of cases are more than the earlier phases. However, deaths may be under control but that is because healthcare systems are now prepared. But we have seen significant rise in cases in cold weather, though there can be other factors too,” he added.
“Now it’s clear that patients of Covid-19 start shedding the virus 2-3 days before the arrival of symptoms. Such patients are innocent as they do not know about the status of their health. However, their innocence may turn criminal if they are invited to a gathering.
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