Covid-19 vaccine update: DCGI finding in probe into Oxford trial; UK PM warns against ‘over optimism’

As the world battles the invisible Covid-19, the UK has become the first country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine, vaulting past other nations in the race to approve a vaccine.

The big leap finally came months into a pandemic with global coronavirus infections surging past 64.4 million and the death toll at over 1.49 million, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

Here are the latest updates on coronavirus vaccine:

DCGI finds no link between Oxford vaccine shot and ‘adverse’ reaction in volunteer

A probe by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) into an alleged “serious adverse event” reportedly suffered by an Oxford Covid-19 vaccine trial participant in Chennai has found that it was not related to the shot administered to him.

As per a PTI report, the DCGI reached the conclusion based on the recommendations of an independent expert committee. The panel was constituted to look into the claim.

A 40-year-old man volunteer in the third phase of the vaccine trial in Chennai had claimed he suffered neurological and psychological symptoms after taking the experimental shot. He sued the Serum Institute of India (SII) along with others and sought compensation of Rs 5 crore, besides seeking a halt to the trial. The SII rejected the charges said it will seek damages in excess of Rs 100 crore.

Covaxin Phase-3 trial begins in Karnataka

The Phase-3 clinical trial of “Covaxin” being developed by Bharat Biotech began in Karnataka. The Karnataka minister said 26,000 people were being administered the vaccine with 1,600-1,800 people being vaccinated on a trial bais in the state.

Clintrac International Pvt Ltd and Vydehi Hospital have partnered to initiate the third phase of the trial, and the vaccine will be given to the volunteers in two doses, the first on Wednesday. The second dose will be administered on December 30, officials said.

The minister said there may be side effects of vaccination and experts will be observing it carefully and there was no need for panic at this stage. The Karnataka minister added that the Centre has reserved Rs 900 crore for vaccine research and the Karnataka government has released Rs 300 crore for providing Covid treatment free of cost.

UK approves Pfizer vaccine; UK PM’s asks public not to get carried away

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged the British public not to get carried away with “over optimism” after Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine was approved in the country.

In his briefing to confirm that the vaccine will be ready to be deployed to the highest risk categories by next week, UK PM Johnson said it is important that the country follows the Covid plan and remain under alert.

“We have been waiting and hoping for the day when the searchlights of science would pick out our invisible enemy and give us the power to stop that enemy from making us ill and now the scientists have done it,” Johnson said.

“It is all the more vital that as we celebrate this scientific achievement we are not carried away with over optimism, or fall into the naive belief that the struggle is over. It’s not, we’ve got to stick to our Winter Plan,” the UK PM said.

The UK PM also confirmed that the first phase of the vaccine deployment will include care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable. “But there are immense logistical challenges: the vaccine must be stored at minus 70 degrees and each person needs two injections, three weeks apart. So it will inevitably take some months before all the most vulnerable are protected,” Boris Johnson said.

This address came after the UK government confirmed that it has authorised the use of Pfizer-BioNTech to immunise against coronavirus. The UK claims to be the first country to pre-order supplies of the vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech, with 800,000 doses being made available next week and 40 million doses ordered overall enough to vaccinate up to a third of the population.

AstraZeneca US coronavirus vaccine trial results likely in late-Jan

AstraZeneca Plc will likely get results of its US Covid-19 vaccine trial in late-January and could potentially file for an emergency authorisation, a top official said on Wednesday.

The British drugmaker and Oxford University have already published interim efficacy results from their UK trial in November, but the results have raised questions among scientists.

The company said the vaccine could be 90 per cent effective when given as a half dose followed by a full dose, based on a relatively small number of volunteers, while overall effectiveness was around 70 per cent.

AstraZeneca resumed its US trial in October after halting the study on September after a report of a serious neurological illness in a participant in the UK.

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