Human Trial Of India’s First COVID-19 Vaccine To Be Conducted At IMS & SUM Hospital In Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar: The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has picked Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS) and SUM Hospital, faculty of medical sciences of the SOA Deemed to be University here, for undertaking human clinical trials of India’s first COVID-19 vaccine.

It is among 13 medical institutes in the country and the only one in Odisha identified by ICMR to take up the clinical trial of the much-awaited vaccine.  Professor of Community Medicine in the hospital E. Venkat Rao will be the Principal Investigator. The trial will commence after approval of the Institutional Ethical Committee (IEC) of the hospital.

The ICMR has advised it to fast track all approvals related to the initiation of the clinical trial of the vaccine in view of the public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the first indigenous vaccine being developed by India and is derived from a strain of SARSCoV-2 isolated by ICMR-National Institute of Virology, Pune.  The ICMR and Bharat Biotech are jointly working for the preclinical as well as clinical development of this vaccine. It has already received the approval for Phase-I and Phase-II human trials by the Drug Controller General of India.

The IMS and SUM Hospital is also among four such institutions in the state, which will undertake convalescent plasma therapy for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Convalescent plasma therapy involves the use of antibodies from the blood of patients who have recovered from Covid-19 to treat other infected persons.

Professor in Medicine Dr Chandan Das will be in charge of the convalescent plasma therapy in the hospital. “We have the required equipment and trained manpower to commence convalescent plasma therapy in our hospital immediately. We have the Post-Graduate Department of Transfusion Medicine recognized by the Medical Council of India,” Associate Professor in the Department of Transfusion Medicine Dr Girija Nandini Kanungo said.

The institute is currently operating three stand-alone COVID-19 hospitals in the state at Bhubaneswar, Kendrapada and Talcher where patients afflicted by coronavirus are being treated. The decision to commence convalescent plasma therapy in the state was taken at a high-level meeting on Thursday chaired by Health and Family Welfare Minister Naba Kishore Das,  and attended, among others, by SOA Vice-Chancellor Prof. (Dr.) Ashok Kumar Mohapatra.

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