Serum Institute of India phase II trials of COVID-19 vaccine to start this week

The Serum Institute of India (SII), which has partnered with AstraZeneca for manufacturing the COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by the University of Oxford, has said that it would start phase II trials of the COVID vaccine this week. The SII also asserted that it has shortlisted 10 centres across India to host Phases 2 and 3 human clinical trials of the Oxford University developed COVID-19 vaccine.

This comes a day after the national expert group on vaccine administration for COVID-19 met representatives of leading domestic manufactures, including SII, Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadila, to take inputs about the present stage of various candidate vaccines as well as their expectations from the government. The meeting was chaired by Niti Aayog member V K Paul and co-chaired by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan.

Sources have said that the panel comprising Department of Biotechnology Secretary Renu Swarup, ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava and Department of Pharmaceuticals Secretary P D Vaghela met the representatives of the five pharma firms and asked them about their production capacity and whether they need any sort of assistance from the government. Notably, this was the second meeting of the committee after August 12.