COVID-19 vaccine: Odisha's SUM hospital soon to begin Phase 3 human trial of Covaxin

In a major development in the preparation of COVID-19 vaccine, Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS) and SUM Hospital in Odisha will soon begin the third phase human trial of indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine ‘Covaxin’.

IMS and SUM Hospital are in the list of 21 medical institutes selected across the country by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) where the third phase trial would be conducted. It is the only institute in Odisha which has been selected for the trial.

Speaking about the third phase, Dr E Venkata Rao, Principal Investigator in the Covaxin human trial and Professor in the Department of Community Medicine at IMS and SUM Hospital said that the indigenous vaccine, being developed by ICMR and Bharat Biotech, has received the approval of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) for initiating the third phase trial as reported by ANI.

After completion of the first and second phase of the trial with demonstrable safety profile and immunogenicity, the large scale efficacy trial involving thousands of volunteers has been planned now,” Dr Rao added. He said the volunteers would be followed up over a considerable period of time to look at the efficacy of the vaccine.

“The age limit and eligibility/screening criteria would be relaxed and several volunteers who are otherwise apparently healthy would be recruited for the trial. Like the previous phases, half of the volunteers would receive placebo and the remaining half would be administered Covaxin in this phase. Even healthcare workers would be recruited for the trial. The volunteers would be followed up over a considerable period of time to look at the efficacy of the vaccine in preventing the development of the coronavirus disease,” he said as per ANI.

Dr Rao added that there had been a huge response and enthusiasm among people who had offered themselves to be volunteers for the trial.

Notably, the coronavirus vaccine being developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) — Covaxin, has been cleared for the third phase of clinical trials.

The Hyderabad-based vaccine maker had applied to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on October 2, seeking permission to conduct Phase 3 trials.