‘Serum India, Bharat Biotech to start trials in coming months’

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on October 18, 2020 Published on October 18, 2020

Harsh Vardhan, Union Health Minister   -  Sandeep Saxena

NEW DELHI, 05/10/2019: Minister for Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan launches a set of 'green crackers', at Anusandhan Bhawan, New Delhi on October 05, 2019. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma / The Hindu   -  THE HINDU

Celebrate festivals at home; Kerala paying for negligence during Onam: Health Min

Serum India and Bharat Biotech will pursue clinical trials of nasal Covid-19 vaccines in India in the coming months, according to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. But as of now, there no such trials are on in India.

Speaking at the sixth episode of Sunday Samvaad, he said that both Serum India and Bharat Biotech are expected to commence trials in the coming months after regulatory approvals.

He clarified that the Phase III clinical trial is generally with thousands of participants, some times 30,000-40,000. It is possible that from a specific city or hospital, a couple of hundred participants are selected at a given time but, in general, the overall Phase III participant pool is much larger.

Stay at home

Requesting everyone to celebrate festivals during the coming season at home, Harsh Vardhan cited the example of Kerala which, he said, paid the price for negligence during Onam with a surge in Covid-19 cases.

According to an official statement, Kerala was paying the price of “gross negligence during the recent Onam festivities when State-wise unlocking of services, along with an increase in inter- and intra-State travel for trade and tourism, led to the spreading of Covid-19 cases across various districts.”

“Epicurve of Kerala changed completely due to Onam festivities across the State, the daily new cases nearly doubled,” Harsh Vardhan said.

Benefits of precaution

The relevance of lockdowns, social distancing and masks was reiterated in a report by the Covid-19 National Super Model Committee made up of researchers from IITs of Hyderabad and Kanpur, and Integrated Defence Staff among others.

Speaking to reporters after this report was released, M Vidyasagar from IIT-H said that the Covid-19 pandemic may taper off by February 2021 if the safety protocols are strictly followed. The pattern of progression of the pandemic in India shows that a further lockdown can be avoided if safety measures are followed.

“Avoiding congestion and taking special care of those above 65 years and children are even more significant. People with co-morbidities need to be extra cautious. Fresh lockdowns should not be imposed, unless there is imminent danger of the healthcare facilities being overwhelmed,” the report said.

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Published on October 18, 2020
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