The results of phase three trials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine being conducted in India could be available by ‘end-November-early December’, raising hopes that the leading anti-Covid candidate.
Niti Aayog member Dr V K Paul said vaccine candidates are progressing well in clinical trials.
Apart from the Oxford candidate, Bharat Biotech and Cadila Healthcare are in advanced phase 2 trials and results are expected by early November, after which strategy for the next phase will be formulated, reports Times of India.
ICMR chief Dr Balram Bhargava said changes in the virus are not likely to affect the efficacy of the vaccines as these were minute, described as “vaccine drift” rather than “vaccine shift” which usually takes a decade and then requires an altered vaccine response.
“Once approved, there will be no delay in making them (vaccine) available,” Paul said, underlining that planning for manufacturing, distribution and storage is going on. The government also ensured that there are adequate resources to fund procurement of required doses of the vaccine.
Researchers said the youth had a particular responsibility as they were mobile and could bring the infection home to elderly people.
Cautioning people against a possible surge in infection, Paul said there are concerns that the pandemic may resurge with the onset of winter if adequate precautions are not taken. He said the current decline in active cases was encouraging but precautions need to be taken to ensure that India does not suffer a second wave.
Highlighting the situation in the US and many European countries, Paul said the second peak of Covid-19 may be impending as such viruses have tendency to thrive in winters.
“Since SARS-Cov-2 is a respiratory virus, we assume that its infectiousness will increase during winters. The study of pandemics of the influenza virus reveals that cases increase during winter phases,” Paul said.
“Many countries are seeing a second peak and the number of cases are more than the earlier phases. However, deaths may be under control but that is because healthcare systems are now prepared. But we have seen significant rise in cases in cold weather, though there can be other factors too,” he added.