India's First Indigenously Developed Covid-19 Vaccine Could Be Ready For Use As Early As February Next Year: Report

India's First Indigenously Developed Covid-19 Vaccine Could Be Ready For Use As Early As February Next Year: ReportCOVAXIN, India’s first indigenous vaccine against Coronavirus. (Swarajya Magazine)

India's first indigenously developed Covid-19 vaccine could be ready for use by as early as February next year, months earlier than expected, with its final stage trials beginning this month, reports Times of India.

The Covaxin, which is India's first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine candidate and has been developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in partnership with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), had undergone phase 1 and 2 trials in the country.

In the studies conducted so far, the indigenous Covid-19 vaccine has reportedly proven to be safe and effective.

The third-phase trial of the vaccine will begin this month at 21 sites across the country.

"The vaccine has shown good efficacy," Rajni Kant, head of ICMR's research management, policy, planning and coordination cell, was quoted as saying.

Kant, who is also the member of the Covid-19 task force, said, "It is expected that by the beginning of next year, February or March, something would be available."

It should be noted that earlier the launch of the Covaxin was expected only in the second quarter of the next year.

If the Covaxin is launched in February, it will become first indigenously developed medicine to be rolled out.

Kant further said that the decision on whether the Covaxin shots can be administered to people even before the third-phase trials are over could only be taken by the Health Ministry.

"It has shown safety and efficacy in the phase 1 and 2 trials and in the animal studies - so it is safe but you can't be 100 per cent sure unless the phase 3 trials are over," Kant was quoted as saying.

"There may be some risk, if you are ready to take the risk, you can take the vaccine," he said.

He further said that if necessary, the government could think of giving the vaccine in an emergency situation.

It should ne noted that Health Minister Harsh Vardhan in September had said that the government was considering granting emergency use authorisation for a Covid-19 vaccine, especially for the high-risk population.