Kanpur emerges as key centre for Covid vaccine trials

Kanpur, which has witnessed a high virus load in the pandemic, is now emerging as a key centre for the trials of Covid-19 vaccines, being manufactured by various companies.

After successful human trials of two vaccines, one developed by Bharat Biotech and the other Russian Sputnik, the third vaccine — Zydus Cadilla’s vaccine ZyCov-D — would be given to a set of healthy volunteers in Kanpur.

According to official sources, nearly 40 healthy volunteers would be given doses of the vaccine at Prakhar Hospital, where 197 people have already been given shots of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.

The third trial would be carried out under the supervision of Dr. V.N. Tripathi, the state’s former Director General, Medical Education, who said that “A separate lab has been set up in the hospital. Work on listing the volunteers has begun.”

According to the health department, Zydus had done trials on 20 people in Kanpur last month but the details were not shared.

However, the process has been kept transparent for the third phase. Dr. Tripathi said the drug controller had given the approval and the vaccine stock would reach Kanpur soon.

The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) earlier had shortlisted Prakhar Hospital as one of two centres for human trials.

Dr. J.S. Kushwaha, the head of Prakhar Hospital, said none of the volunteers who were administered the vaccine had complained of any side-effects so far.

Fifty-seven more people were given Covaxin in the third trial in Kanpur.

The volunteers included the doctors and engineers who were examined by an ICMR team, which is staying in Kanpur during this phase.

Only 13 volunteers went for doses at the Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi Memorial (GSVM) Medical College, where the trial of Sputnik vaccine was going on.

Seven others refused after learning that a Haryana Minister tested positive for Covid-19 even after he was given one dose of a vaccine.

Prof. Richa Giri, vice principal of the medical college, said, “There is no reason for them to be apprehensive. I think their fear stems from the social media posts on this issue. They need to realize vaccine is the only way we can defeat corona and they should be mentally prepared.”