Serum Institute may begin human trials of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate from August 25

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  • The pharma giant will be meeting principal investigators at 17 different sites across the country.
  • Once these formal procedures are completed, SII will begin human trials anytime after August 25.
  • The trials will be held at PGIMER Chandigarh, AIIMS in Delhi, ABJ Medical College in Pune, Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences (RMRIMS) in Patna, and 13 other sites in the country.
Serum Institute of India is likely to begin human trials of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate in India in the next few weeks. The pharma giant is expected to meet principal investigators on August 14 at 17 different sites across the country.

The trials will be held at PGIMER Chandigarh, AIIMS in Delhi, ABJ Medical College in Pune, Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences (RMRIMS) in Patna, AIIMS in Jodhpur, Nehru Hospital in Gorakhpur, Andhra Medical College in Visakhapatnam and JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research in Mysuru.

The virtual meet is going to establish a standard operating procedure for conducting phase 2 and phase 3 clinical trials of the vaccine candidate in India. Once these formal procedures are completed, SII will begin human trials anytime after August 25.

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SII has signed two agreements for the supply of Covid-19 vaccines, the first being AstraZeneca-Oxford's candidate, for which the company has agreed to produce up to 1 billion doses for low and middle-income countries. The Oxford University vaccine candidate has received permission to start phase-two and three trials in India earlier this month.

The Serum Institute of India would introduce candidate vaccines from AstraZeneca and Novavax for COVID-19 at less than ₹250 per dose in India. The Pune-based institute partnered with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to offer up to 100 million doses, with the price capped at $3 for 92 low and middle-income countries (LMIC), including India.

According to SII, the vaccines will be available as early as the first half of 2021 after gaining approvals and qualifications from the World Health Organization (WHO). If successful, Novavax's candidate will be available to all 92 countries, while AstraZeneca's candidate vaccine will be available to 57 Gavi-eligible countries.

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(With inputs from IANS)

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