The vaccine produced by Oxford University and backed by the Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca is undoubtedly one of the frontrunners in the race of producing a safe and effective jab for COVID-19. The potential vaccine has been developed using a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) and has been combined with the genetic material of the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The vaccine candidate which is being called ‘ChAdOx1 nCoV-19’ is currently in the middle of the critical last-stage trials in the UK, Brazil and India. The British-Swedish drugmaker had paused its last stage human trials briefly on September 6, after a person who got dosed with the vaccine candidate developed a potentially unexplained illness. As the trials soon resumed after a brief halt, after being given the go-ahead by the UK’s Medicines Health Regulatory Authority, the wait for a COVID-19 vaccine may end sooner. According to media reports, the earliest doses of the vaccine candidate may be expected to come into public circulation by year-end.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will be sold under the brand name ‘COVISHIELD’ in India and will be produced by Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccine by volume. SII is currently overviewing the crucial Phase II and III trials of the Oxford vaccine in India, across 17 medical institutes.