Making the right COVID choices in 2021

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Having a choice of vaccines for COVID-19 is just the first step. The other problem is in addition to logistics and pharmacovigilance for monitoring AEFIs, the decision to take it.
With three firms filing for emergency authorization in India for their COVID-19 vaccine candidates, there seems to be multiple options.

But for the Central Drugs Quality Control Organization, it would be a difficult decision (CDSCO). There are other applicants waiting in the wings, in addition to reviewing the applications of Pfizer, Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech, based on the data available and a rolling analysis.

  • COVAXIN, developed through ICMR-Bharat Biotech partnership and COVISHIELD from the Serum Institute of India, are two of them at the most advanced stage of production. Both are in the Phase III clinical trial stage.
  • For most big vaccine candidates, India is also hosting clinical trials. In addition to the COVISHIELD research by the Serum Institute of India for the vaccine produced by Oxford University, the Zydus Cadila indigenous DNA vaccine is in the Ph2 trial. After obtaining regulatory approval, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories will perform final stage tests and distribute Russia’s SPUTNIK V vaccine to India.

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Strategies for research

  • India’s active caseload further contracted to 4.03 lakh on December 7, according to MoH&FW numbers, after 138 days, total recoveries exceed 91 lakh, with new cases per million population in India being one of the lowest in the world in the last week. The active caseload of the country currently consists of just 4.18 percent of the overall positive cases.

  • There are figures which are soothing. India remains second in terms of overall cases, third in terms of total global COVID-19 deaths and has the highest number of recovered COVID-19 patients, defying expectations that India will surpass the US by October in terms of total number of cases.

  • All these numbers depend on strategies for testing.
    According to ICMR info, up to December 07, a total of 14,88,14,055 samples were tested for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), with 10,26,399 samples tested on that day, 530428 of which were RT-PCR tests. While there seems to be a concerted effort to increase the number of gold standard RT-PCR tests over the rapid antigen test (RAT), one hopes that this effort continues. While the RAT has speed as a major advantage, it loses out on accuracy.

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