Covid-19 vaccine update: Covaxin phase 3 trials to begin in Haryana today, minister to take shot

A global search continues for a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) even as a rise in the number of infections and related deaths are being reported. According to a tally by worldometers, more than 57 million people have contracted the disease so far and more than 1.3 million have lost their lives due to it. The tally also shows that nearly 40 million people have recovered from the coronavirus disease till date.

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In India, Haryana’s home minister Anil Vij will be administered a shot of Bharat Biotech International Limited’s vaccine candidate as its phase three trials begins in the state.

Here are the latest updates on Covid-19 vaccine development front:

1. Vij, who also holds the health portfolio, had offered to be the first volunteer. “I will be administered a trial dose of Covaxin, a Bharat Biotech product tomorrow at 11am at Civil Hospital, Ambala. I have volunteered to take the trial dose,” Vij had tweeted on Thursday. He will be administered a shot of the vaccine candidate of Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, Covaxin.

2. Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla on Thursday said it may sell Covishield, the vaccine being developed by Oxford University, for around Rs 500-600 per shot in the market as against Rs 220 per shot it will cost the government. Poonawalla made this statement on the opening day of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit (HTLS), where he was one of the speakers.

3. Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Thursday expressed confidence a Covid-19 vaccine will be ready in “next three-four months.” The minister, who was addressing a FICCI webinar, further said healthcare workers and corona warriors will “naturally be prioritised,” followed by senior citizens and disease-prone people. “Hopefully, year 2021 should be a better year for all of us,” he further said.

4. America’s Pfizer Inc and Germany’s BioNTech SE, who are together working on a vaccine candidate, will on Friday file for emergency use authorisation (EUA) in the United States, the US government, as well as BioNTech co-founder announced. In an interview, BioNTech co-founder Ugur Sahin said there was a chance they could receive approval this year itself and start delivering by December. Pfizer recently said the vaccine candidate, BNT162b2, was found to be 95% effective.

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