Telangana-based Bharat Biotech India (BBL) Friday said animal trials of Covaxin, its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, were successful. In a press release, the company said Covaxin generated “robust immune responses”.
“The vaccine candidate was found to generate robust immune responses. Thus, preventing infection and disease in the primates upon high amounts of exposure to live SARS-CoV-2 virus,” the company stated, adding that the results “demonstrate the protective efficacy in a live viral challenge model”
Bharat Biotech proudly announces the animal study results of COVAXIN™ – These results demonstrate the protective efficacy in a live viral challenge model.
— BharatBiotech (@BharatBiotech) September 11, 2020
Bharat Biotech had tested its vaccine candidate on four groups of 20 rhesus macaques. The primates were administered a “two-dose vaccination regimen of inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine”.
“One group was administered with placebo, while three groups were immunized with three different vaccine candidates at 0 and 14 days. All the macaques were exposed to viral challenge 14 days after the 2nd dose,” the vaccine-maker said.
“The results showed protective efficacy, increasing SARS-CoV-2 specific IgG and neutralising antibodies,” the company said, adding that it reduced the replication of the virus in the nasal cavity, throat, and lung tissues of the monkeys.
It also added that no evidence of pneumonia was observed in the vaccinated groups.
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What is Covaxin?
Covaxin is among the front runners in the race to find a vaccine for Covid-19.
Covaxin is an “inactivated” vaccine. It is made using particles of the Covid-19 virus that are dead, and therefore cannot infect or replicate those injected with it. Bharat Biotech said injecting these particles will build immunity by helping the body create antibodies against the dead virus.
Human trials for Covaxin kicked off in mid-July. In the first week of September, the vaccine-maker received the drug regulator’s clearance to move Covaxin to the second phase of human testing.
Each stage of a vaccine’s clinical trial tests its safety and ability to develop an effective immune response. While the first phase focuses on safety in healthy participants, the second phase looks at the effectiveness. The third phase looks into these aspects in a much larger population that would represent a wider demographic.
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