Indian medical experts welcome Oxford trial results for COVID vaccine

New Delhi: Medical experts in India have hailed the results of Oxford University”s early-stage human trials for a COVID-19 vaccine, with some saying it”s the “most scientifically done” among all such exercises, while others expressing hope that the final trials will “bear fruit”.

From clinicians to pathology experts, doctors in the country feel the Oxford trials have been the “most transparent” one by far.

“The Oxford University”s early-stage trial results have been were welcoming. Among all the trials being conducted globally, this one has been the most scientifically done and seems the most reliable one,” said Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine at Apollo Hospital here.

He said the plan and design of the trials and the whole logistics and demographic range of volunteers from 18-55 years has been “done the most scientifically” among all the trials going on globally.

Chatterjee said the results have raised “good hope” and it is expected the final results will be in line, but “we need to wait for that before drawing any final conclusion”.

The trial data of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University reveals that it is safe and induces immune response, with mild side effects in some participants, scientists announced on Monday.

The preliminary results of the phase I/II trial, just published in The Lancet journal, involved 1,107 healthy adults, and found that the vaccine induced an immune response both via antibodies and the T cells of the immune system up to day 56 of the ongoing trial.

Since emerging in the central Chinese city of Wuhan last year, the virus has has killed over 606,000 people and infected more than 14,538,000 people worldwide. In India, the virus has caused deaths and infected over 11 lakh people, according to latest official figures.

Executive Chairman, Dr Lal Path Labs, Dr Arvind Lal also hailed the initial results, terming it as “very positive” and “best trials conducted globally so far”.

“This is such a promising trial and I am very hopeful, it will go the distance. And, early-stage results will lead to good final-stage results. I am very optimistic about its final outcome and it will bear fruits,” Lal said.

On the trial results he said, it has taken into account response of adult volunteers from 18-55 years, a broad-based age group.

“Serum Institute of India is associated with the trial process, and if we develop this vaccine, it is going to really benefit India, both clinically and economically,” Lal said.

Dr Mrinal Sircar, head of pulmonology at Fortis Hospital, Noida, also welcomed the results, but cautioned that “prevention is the only thing we have in hand” and people should maintain the safety norms and “not let their guards down”.

“I think it”s (trials) really important. The vaccine is the only thing that will stop this pandemic. Vaccine is very important. I am looking forward to it. Once things are beyond safety trials, we can say anything. Normally, it would take years,” he said.

Dr Lal said developing a vaccine through such trials is like a marathon race. “Oxford trials have crossed the first hurdle successfully, and I am positive that it will breast the tape eventually in the race”.


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