Bharat Biotech Current Affairs - 2020

COVISHIELD: India to take up clinical trials of OXFORD Vaccine

On July 26, 2020, Central Drugs Standard Control Organization announced that it will take up clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccine, COVISHIELD developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

Highlights

The trials are being considered by CDSCO after the request from Serum Institute of India. The phase III of the trials is to be conducted in India. During phase III, around 4000-5000 people shall be tested. The vaccine is already being tested in UK, South Africa, and Brazil. The cost of the vaccine is estimated to be less than Rs 1000.

Indian Vaccines

India is on the plan of launching COVAXIN, a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech and ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) by August 15, 2020. Another vaccine that is under trials in India is ZyCov-D that was developed by Zydus Cadila. The Serum Institute of India is developing a live attenuated vaccine with US based biotech firm Codagenix. This vaccine is under pre-clinical trials.

Other leading Vaccines

The CanSino vaccine developed by the Chinese firm Casino Biologistics has showed promising results. The firm is to begin its phase III in Canada. Of all the vaccine, CanSino claims to have less adverse effects. The BNT162 COVID-19 vaccine developed by German biotech firm has showed safe immune response in patients.

IIT Kharagpur: Rapid testing device to detect COVID-19 in one hour

The researchers of IIT Kharagpur has developed rapid diagnostic device to detect COVID-19 infection within one hour.

Highlights

The device will help to bring the cost of COVID-19 testing far down as compared to that of the RT-PCR machines. Thereby, COVID-19 testing facility shall be availed for under-served communities. The cost of the test is less than Rs 400.

About the test

The test is done using a disposable simple paper-strip for chemical analysis and visualization. The results of the test can be accessed from a customised smartphone application. The same test can be conducted for large number of COVID-19 patients by simply changing the paper cartridge after each test. The test can be operated by minimally trained personnel.

Benefits

India is currently planning to increase its COVID-19 testing through out the country through its “Test, Track and Treat” strategy. Also, the government is adopting plasma therapy and opening plasma banks to increase the recovery rate of COVID-19. Besides, GoI has partnered with Bharat Biotech to launch the first indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine called COVAXIN. The clinical trials of the vaccine is being conducted by several leading institutes of the country including AIIMS. The vaccine is expected to be launched on August 15, 2020.

The rapid testing device now developed by IIT Kharagpur if when implemented along with the above strategies, will help India improve its recovery rate. The current recovery rate of India is 63.5%.