Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij was on Friday administered a trial dose of Bharat Biotech’s potential coronavirus vaccine Covaxin, becoming the first volunteer in the state for its third phase trial, reported PTI. Vij is also the first Cabinet minister of any state government who has volunteered to take trial dose of a potential vaccine against Covid-19.
The 67-year old senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader was administered the dose at the Civil Hospital in Haryana’s Ambala Cantonment area. Civil Surgeon Dr Kuldeep Singh told reporters that the vaccine was given successfully, according to PTI. Earlier in the day, the minister underwent some tests at the hospital and was kept under observation.
On Wednesday, Vij had offered himself as a volunteer for the vaccine trial.
Biotechnology company Bharat Biotech had on Monday said that it has begun the phase 3 clinical trials Covaxin in India, with 26,000 participants from across 22 sites in the country. The vaccine has so far been evaluated in 1,000 subjects in Phase I and Phase II clinical trials, the company added. Earlier this month, senior Indian Council of Medical Research scientist Rajni Kant had expressed hope that the Bharat Biotech vaccine could be available as early as February, months earlier than expected.
Globally, potential vaccines being developed by drug manufacturers Moderna and Pfizer have shown 94.5% and 95% effectiveness, respectively, in late-stage trials. Another vaccine candidate developed by the Oxford University and AstraZeneca has produced strong immune responses in older adults in second stage trials.
However, India has not yet signed a deal for a coronavirus vaccine so it is unclear when it will be available for use in the country, despite some leaders promising it will be available from as early as January. Availability of the vaccine in India would be subject to approval by domestic regulators, and the Indian government agreeing to purchase them.
India recorded 45,882 new coronavirus cases on Friday, taking the the country’s total to 90,04,365. The toll rose to 1,32,162 with 584 more deaths. The number of active cases stood at 4,43,794. As many as 84,28,409 people have recovered from the disease so far.