Serum India, Bharat Biotech may commence clinical trials of intranasal COVID-19 vaccines soon: Dr Harsh Vardhan

TOP NEWS
Typography

The Union health minister said that there are no intranasal COVID-19 vaccines under trial in India at the moment

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan said that Serum India and Bharat Biotech may commence clinical trials of intranasal COVID-19 vaccines in the country soon.

Interacting on the social media in the sixth episode of Sunday Samvaad , the minister said that there are no intranasal COVID-19 vaccines under trial in India at the moment.

“Serum India and Bharat Biotech are expected to pursue clinical trials of such vaccines in India in the coming months on receipt of regulatory approval,” said Dr Harsh Vardhan.

He clarified that the Phase III clinical trial is generally with thousands of participants, sometimes even close to 30,000 to 40,000 participants.

It is possible that from a specific city or hospital, couple of hundred participants are selected at a given time, but in general, the overall Phase III participant pool is much larger, the Union minister added.

Sharing details on the Special Drive for ADVERSE Drug Reaction (ADR) reporting and monitoring of drugs used in COVID-19, Dr Harsh Vardhan clarified that this special drive is not because of an adverse reaction reported with an existing drug, but is part of a proactive COVID-19 preparedness programme.

On the concerns of medical oxygen, the Minister assured that there is no shortage in medical oxygen.

“Current oxygen production capacity of India is around 6400 MT/Day and the government is ready to scale up the production capacity in order to meet any further increase in demand arising due to the pandemic,” he said.

The empowered group constituted by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is monitoring the requirement of medical oxygen across India. The Ministry of Health is also monitoring the availability and supply of medical oxygen at the field level through regular VC with state nodal officers for oxygen as well as with principal secretaries or mission directors.

About 1 lakh medical oxygen cylinders have been delivered to states and UTs, he said.

“The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority has fixed the price of liquid medical oxygen and the guidelines on ‘rational use of oxygen for management of COVID-19’ have also been issued,” said Dr Harsh Vardhan.

On the Phase II of the COVID-19 grants to states, the minister said that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has already released the Phase II of the COVID Package to 33 states and Union Territories.

“The total amount released in the second package amounts to a total of Rs 1,352 crore. This Phase II grant has been released in tranches during the months of August, September and October 2020,” said the minister.

On the market being flooded with oximeters made in China, Dr Harsh Vardhan observed that “consumers should look for FDA/CE approved products with ISO/ IEC specifications while purchasing a pulse oximeter from the market or from the online retailers.”

However, he made it clear that a dip in oxygen saturation level is not a COVID-19 symptom, as it may happen due to other underlying medical conditions as well.

All Comments