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Vaccine shot painless, say Covishield trial volunteers

“It felt like a tetanus shot,” said Joel Joy, 32, who works for a multinational firm in Mumbai, and was among those who’d volunteered for the experimental Covishield vaccine, being tested by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) at various hospitals in India, “I’ll be going to the gym later today,” he added.

The two-dose vaccine candidate is furthest ahead among the COVID-19 vaccines being tested in India. The trial involves 1,600 volunteers in 17 cities across the country likely to be inoculated in the coming months in the combined phase-2/3 trials. These trials check for whether the vaccine is safe and capable of producing an immune response to disarm future infections by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

According to details of the trial available on the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) site, the volunteers will be divided into two groups of 400 and 1,200 respectively with some in each group getting Covishield, some a placebo and yet others getting the Oxford/ChAdOx1. Both ‘Covishield’ and the Oxford/ChAdOx1 have the same virus protein but differ in their make-up — the exact nature of the difference has not been publicly disclosed. The trial also seeks to quantify these differences if any.

Being a double-blinded trial, neither the doctors nor the volunteers know who are the ones vaccinated and who’ve been given the placebo. The four volunteers who The Hindu spoke to, said they would be going for a follow-up shot on the 29th day. – The Hindu