Pune: The phase-III human clinical trial of a COVID-19 vaccine began at the state-run Sassoon General Hospital here Monday. The vaccine is being developed by Oxford University and will be manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), said a senior hospital official. The vaccine being developed by Oxford University has been in the limelight for quite some time now.
“We have started the phase-III trials of the vaccine (candidate Covishield). We will administer dose to 150 to 200 volunteers,” said Dr Muralidhar Tambe, Dean, Sassoon General Hospital.
In phase-II, trials had been conducted at the Bharti Vidyapeeth Medical College and also KEM Hospital in this city.
The SII has partnered with British-Swedish pharma company AstraZeneca for manufacturing the COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
Earlier this month, the SII had paused the clinical trials of the vaccine candidate in India. The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had September 11 directed the SII to suspend any new recruitment in the phase-II and III clinical trial of the vaccine till further orders. This happened after AstraZeneca paused the trials in other countries because of ‘an unexplained illness’ in a participant in the study.
Later on it was found that the person had the ‘illness’ even before the trials began. He had also not disclosed his ‘illness’ to officials.
However, September 15, the DCGI gave permission to the SII to resume clinical trial of the vaccine.