Vaccination trials: 220 volunteers to take part in second phase

Over 220 volunteers are expected to take part in the second phase of two different sets of COVID-19 vaccine trials in Belagavi this week.

As many as 170 will be enlisted for ZyCoV-D, developed by Ahmedabad based Zydus Cadila pharmaceutical company. The rest have been vaccinated with COVXIN, developed by Bharat Biotech.

Both the trials are being run in Jeevan Rekha hospital, a private hospital in front of the district civil hospital. Belagavi is the only place in the State selected for COVAXIN trials and one of the seven across India for ZyCoV-D.

Paritosh Desai, senior scientist involved in the trials, said both the vaccines had proved safe in the first round of trials. โ€œNow we are testing the effectiveness of the vaccine in the second phase,โ€ he said.

He said the hospital was likely to conduct a third set of trials for the AD 2 COV2S being developed by Bio Epharma company from Hyderabad. The trial is not confirmed yet, he said.

Healthy participants have been selected for the first phase and second phase of trials. The reports are routinely sent to ICMR for validation. COVID-19 vaccine in very small amounts is injected into the blood stream of volunteers. They are sent home after the vaccination. They are observed for a period of 28 days, at the end of which the antibodies in their blood are counted. The other possible effects in their immune system and other conditions are observed.

โ€œThe second phase of ZyCoV-D is to evaluate safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine in larger sample size. It is a plasmid DNA vaccine candidate. If injected into host cells, such molecules are known to translate into the viral protein and trigger a strong cellular and humoral immune response,โ€ Amit Bhate, director of Jeevan Rekha hospital, said.

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