India is the second most populated country in the world. With the population density, it was always going to be difficult to control the spread of Coronavirus. Today, India is one of the worst affected regions in the world, coming in after US, Russia and Brazil. At such a time, the announcement of Covaxin, a homegrown vaccine, comes as welcome change.

So, what is Covaxin?

It is the first indigenous inactivated vaccine developed to combat the novel coronavirus which has received a green signal from India’s top drug regulator, the Drugs Controller General of India. It will soon begin its Phase I and Phase II clinical trials on humans.

Who has developed this vaccine?

Bharat Biotech Limited (BBIL), a Hyderabad based Company, in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research and National Institute of Virology has developed Covaxin.

How many phases are there before a vaccine is available in the market?

Covaxin will go through four stages of tests, starting with pre-clinical tests and followed by Phase I, II and III studies which will be conducted on thousands of patients.

Covaxin has cleared the pre-clinical test and Phase I and Phase II on human trails will start during this month.

During these phases, the vaccine will be tested on group of individuals to assess what is the apt amount of dosage that results in building the immunity against the virus. Researchers will look for side-effects, if any, and undertake evaluation on the overall effectiveness of the vaccine.

What is the timeline for testing and approving the vaccine?

Despite the success so far, BBIL is yet unsure of the overall timing for testing and approving this vaccine. Vaccine development usually takes years but many experts are optimistic that a vaccine might become available by mid-2021.

What does this mean for India?

This puts India a step ahead of other countries who are striving to make a COVID vaccine. If it is successful, it will be a giant step forward in protecting India’s vulnerable population against the virus.