Insights about Covaxin, India’s indigenous Covid-19 vaccine candidate

Insights about Covaxin, India’s indigenous Covid-19 vaccine candidate

With the corona virus case tally crossing 15 lakh mark today, the scramble for Covid-19 vaccine has accelerated in India. India’s first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin has started human trials. The vaccine candidate, called Covaxin, has been developed by Hyderabad-based, Bharat Biotech India Ltd (BBIL) who got approvals from the Drug Controller General of India on June 29 for phase-I and phase-II trials.

What is Covaxin?

India’s first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine candidate, Covaxin is an inactivated vaccine created from a strain of the SAARS-cov-2 virus. It has been developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research(ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology. Bharat Biotech also has another vaccine candidate, ‘CoroFlu’, which it is developing in collaboration with University of Wisconsin–Madison and vaccine manufacturer FluGen..

Globally, there are nearly 150 vaccine candidates under development currently, of which 17 are undergoing human trials. University of Oxford’s vaccine is the furthest in the trial, currently in the third phase, while there are various candidates in the second phase.

What are Inactivated Vaccines?

Inactivated vaccines are made from microorganisms such as viruses,bacteria  that have been killed in the labs through physical and chemical processes and cannot cause disease. This procedure is known as the old school process of vaccination. As per the WHO, inactivated vaccines have no risk of inducing the disease and have a less strong immune response compared to live vaccines.

How was covaxin developed?

The SARS-cov-2 strain was isolated in National Institute of Virology, Pune and was transferred to Bharat Biotech.Bharat Biotech then started working on the inactivated vaccine at its high containment facility in Hyderabad.