Healthcare workers from Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital may soon be roped in for Phase III human trials of Covaxin, India’s first indigenously developed Covid-19 vaccine. The move comes days after the Delhi government gave its approval to Bharat Biotech, which is developing the vaccine in collaboration with the National Institute of Virology and the Indian Council of Medical Research.
“We have given the approval for participation of healthcare workers from our hospital but it has to be finally cleared by the hospital’s ethics committee. Once done, healthcare workers who are willing will be enrolled for the process,” said Dr D S Rana, chairman of the hospital’s board.
In October, Bharat Biotech had reached out to the Delhi government for enrollment of healthcare workers from hospitals for Phase III. Around 3,000-4,000 healthcare workers from both government and private hospitals are expected to participate. “The government has given its approval to the company, which will coordinate with the hospitals directly,” said a senior official from the state health department.
Phase III trial of the vaccine has already begun at AIIMS with Dr M V Padma Srivastava, the chief of Neurosciences Centre at the premier institute, and three other volunteers receiving the first dose on November 26.
“Several healthcare workers are coming forward to participate in the Phase III trials of the vaccine. As part of the trial application, a dose of 0.5 ml would be given on day 0 and on day 28,” said Dr Sanjay Rai, Principal Investigator Covid-19 Vaccine trial at AIIMS.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government has begun the process of enrolment of healthcare workers of different hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities for Covid vaccination. For uploading data, a link has been provided on the website of the Delhi State Health Mission.
Meanwhile, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said that if the city’s positivity rate stays below 4 percent for five consecutive days, it would mean Delhi has been successful in combating the pandemic.
“The positivity rate has become less than 5 per cent as compared to the surge since November 7 which is a sign of relief as it points to perpetual declining of the effect of the pandemic in Delhi. If this continues for five consecutive days, Delhi will successfully combat the outbreak,” he said on Friday.
On Friday, the city saw 4,067 new cases of Covid-19 and 73 deaths, taking the total number of cases so far to 5,86,125 and the death toll to 9,497.
Talking about the storage and availability of the vaccine, once it is introduced, Jain said there is “enough resources for the application as well as storage of vaccine”. “For people who have already recovered from Covid-19, their body has produced antibodies naturally so they do not need to be vaccinated in the first phase,” he said.
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