COVID-19 Vaccine Latest News: The Serum Institute of India, Pune on Monday listed five sites across the country to Department of Biotechnology (DBT) to begin the third and final phase of human trials for Oxford University and AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine. The trials in India are expected to begin by August end. Also Read - Prevent Plastic Pandemic: Here is How COVID-19 PPE Can be Converted to Biofuel

Speaking to news agency PTI, DBT Secretary Renu Swarup said that this is an essential step to have data within the country before the vaccine is administered to Indians on a mass scale. Also Read - There Might Never be a 'Silver Bullet' For COVID-19: WHO Chief

“The DBT is now setting up Phase 3 clinical sites. We have already started working on them and five sites are now ready to be available for Phase 3 trials,” Swarup said, adding that manufacturers will, in some weeks, take them up for clinical trial studies. Also Read - Tripura CM Biplab Deb Tests Negative For Coronavirus, To Follow Home Quarantine For Next 7 Days

Serum Institute, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, was chosen by Oxford University as the manufacturing partner for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The vaccine candidate recently cleared the first phase of human trials, inducing a strong immune response in the body.

SII chief executive Adar Poonawalla had earlier said that the company is putting USD 200 million at risk by manufacturing nearly 300 million doses before the final nod to launch the vaccine in market, which is expected at best by the end of the year.

The COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca is expected to be tested on at least 5,000 Indian volunteers after getting the necessary nods.

Doses of the vaccine were also given to 1,077 healthy adults aged between 18 and 55 in five UK hospitals in April and May for Phase 1 clinical trial and results, published in The Lancet medical journal, revealed that they induced strong antibody and T-cell immune responses for up to 56 days after they were given.

Meanwhile, the second phase administers hundreds of people split into groups – children and the elderly – to see if the vaccine acts differently in them. The first two phases focus on safety and immunogenicity in humans.

Notably, in India, two indigenous vaccines – by Zydus Cadila and Bharat Biotech – have also reached phase one of human trials.