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Bharat Biotech disowns social media flash news on Covaxin trial launch

August 15 set for vaccine launch for public; Bharat Biotech- ICMR shortcircuits procedures to meet emergency. Human clinical trials put on fast-track. Bharat Biotech is quite hopeful of saving lives.

NEW DELHI, July 4: Bharat Biotech, the Hyderabad-based developer of Covaxin for coronavirus, has denied the report in social media of its vice-president taking the injection to launch the human trial of the vaccine.

Covaxin is a joint product of Bharat Biotech and the ICMR. They are currently fast-tracking human clinical trials and is likely to be launched for the public on August 15, shortcircuiting several procedures in order to face the emergency caused by the pandemic crisis that is claiming thousands of lives over the world every day.

Bharat Biotech said, "certain images and messages being circulated on WhatsApp and other social media platforms have not been disseminated by Bharat Biotech." The image in the social media shows its vice-president Dr VK Srinivas with a needle inserted around the cubital fossa of his arm intravenously.

The image being circulated is of a routine procedural blood draw for testing all production staff, it added.

Officially declared, the mode of administration of the Bharat Biotech's Covaxin against coronavirus is intramuscular injection, that could be on the upper arm. But what is seen in the picture? It is a needle being inserted possibly to draw blood for tests or inject some medicine intravenously through the route of antecubital veins around the cubital fossa. A rubber band seen on the upper arm is usually used to pool blood and swell the veins to facilitate the prick.

Three are three different routes of vaccine injection: intramuscular, subcutaneous and intradermal. Vaccines are also given orally or by intra-nasal route. But not necessarily intravenous.

Bharat Biotech clarified the position in its statement, "Certain images and messages being circulated on WhatsApp and other social media platforms have not been disseminated by Bharat Biotech. The image being circulated is a routine procedural blood draw for testing all production staff. We are working towards a safe and efficacious solution for Covid-19 and public health."

There are currently over a hundred seemingly prospective vaccine candidates around. Many of them have fallen silent after making a lot of sound and fury. What happened to Oxford's adinovirus shot? ChAdOx1 What happened to the American Moderna's mRNA? What happened to the Chinese Sinovac?

Indian Bharat Biotech's Covaxin had received approval from the Drugs Controller-General of India (DCGI) last week for clinical trials. India is a centre for vaccine manufacture and Hyderabad's Bharat Biotech leads. The vaccine prototype was produced in collaboration with the ICMR and the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune.

The company has claimed a decent immune response to the inactivated vaccine marked by safety. This one is the first to get approval in India. The human clinical trials have started.

Announcing the approval for clinical trials, Krishna M Ella, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharat Biotech International, had said developing a vaccine is the only way to tackle Covid-19. Bharat Biotech is quite hopeful of saving lives.

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