MYSURU: The second phase trials for the Oxford-AstraZeneca-Serum Institute Covishield, claimed to be the most promising vaccine so far against the Novel Coronavirus, started at the JSS Hospital in Mysuru on Saturday, with five volunteers receiving the candidate vaccine shots.
The second phase is being carried out on healthy persons with priority being the safety of those who are administered the Covishield vaccine to record the reactions, allergies and also to take note of the beneficial effects.
As part of the nationwide programme, the JSS Hospital in Mysuru is one among the 17 sites in India chosen by ICMR and Serum Institute of India for the trials.
The ICMR will collect 100 samples from across the country for further study and look into modifications. The five who were administered the candidate vaccine will be under observation till September 29, after which it will be tried on more people.
Need to study lifespan of antibody, says expert
According to JSS authorities, the call for volunteers had received an overwhelming response despite scepticism. Of the respondents, 250 healthy volunteers have been lined up for the trials.
Dr B Suresh, Pro-Chancellor, JSS Academy of Higher Education & Research, told TNSE that some sort of treatment for Covid-19 should be available by December.
The third phase of the research, which includes authorisation for the vaccine and its marketing, will start immediately.
In the fourth phase, the recipients of the vaccine will be tracked and monitored to study any adverse effects.
The volunteers will be monitored for a year as per regulations, during which time they have been told to be careful since side-effects may arise even after a year or two.
Taking the examples of polio and smallpox vaccinations, which have a life-long effect, Dr Suresh said there is a need to study how long the antibodies against Covid-19 remain active in a person.
“About 150 countries are experimenting on vaccines for Covid-19. We will have some vaccine by December,” he added. Dr Suresh also revealed that their clinical research unit is also hosting trials for the BCG vaccine.
This is being conducted with volunteers aged 60-80, to check whether it offers protection from other diseases too.