India could be the first country to conduct mass immunization drive for its citizens using British pharma giant AstraZeneca’s potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford as early as December 2020.
Reports suggest that even though there are two regionally developed vaccines, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, jointly developed with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and Zydus Cadila’s Zycov D in early phases of human clinical trials, the COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by the University of Oxford is ahead of these two solutions.
While the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate is in its Phase 2, 3 trials with around 1,600 people aged above 18 years across 17 selected sites across the country, both Covaxin and Zycov D are still in their Phase 1, 2 trials.
Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) is a manufacturing partner of Oxford-AstraZeneca.
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SII, which plans to make 100 million doses of vaccine every month and 400 million doses of the Oxford vaccine by the end of 2020, recently received $150 million from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the vaccine development and distribution. GAVI has also announced funding for manufacturing initial shots of the vaccine in the country, added the report.
The preliminary results of the Oxford candidate in the UK have already showed the vaccine induces an antibody response within 28 days in a similar range to that in individuals who have recovered from COVID-19.
A second “booster” dose of the vaccine increased antibody response to even higher levels, and 100% of blood samples given the second dose showed neutralizing activity.
the Oxford vaccine candidate has also scored better due to its association with an Indian company as its manufacturing and distribution partner.
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