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Covishield expected by December; Moderna readies for launch

It has been almost a year since the coronavirus pandemic began, yet the virus is far from being brought under control.

Experts have maintained that the need for a vaccine could not be overstated, especially considering the impact of COVID-19 on the global economy, healthcare systems, and with reports of people being reinfected.

Here are updates on some of the leading vaccine candidates.

Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

The Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate, dubbed Covishield in India, is expected to be ready by December, said Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of the Serum Institute of India.

The SII has partnered with AstraZeneca to produce the doses for Covishield, which is undergoing final-stage trials in India.

Poonawalla told NDTV that clinical trials should be over by December if India doesn’t go for an emergency license.

Moderna vaccine

Earlier this week, Moderna announced that it was preparing for a global launch of its vaccine mRNA-1273.

The Phase III trials are fully enrolled with 30,000 participants.

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in a statement, “Our CMV vaccine showed positive interim Phase II data and we are now preparing for the Phase III start in 2021.”

Russia’s Sputnik V

Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories—that has struck a deal to conduct vaccine trials and distribution of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine—said on Wednesday that late-stage trials are expected to be complete as early as March 2021.

However, the trials could go into April or May, CEO Erez Israeli said.

The company expects to enroll 100 participants for the mid-stage trial and 1,500 people for the late-stage.

Bharat Biotech COVAXIN

Bharat Biotech is planning to launch its vaccine candidate COVAXIN by the second quarter of 2021 if it gets regulatory approval, a top company official told PTI.

Recruitment and dosage for Phase III clinical trials will begin in November.

The indigenous vaccine has been developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Virology using inactivated SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19.

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