SII Pauses COVID-19 Vaccine Trials in India

The Serum Institute of India (SII), which was conducting the Indian trials for the coronavirus vaccine being developed by Oxford University, paused the clinical trials of the vaccine across the country on 10th September, 2020.

Putting out a statement, the Serum Institute of India said, “We are reviewing the situation and pausing India trials till AstraZeneca restarts the trials. We are following DCGI’s instructions and will not be able to comment further on trials.”

The declaration by the Pune-based vaccine manufacturer came a day after the Drug Control General of India (DCGI), V.G. Somani, issued them a show-cause notice asking for an explanation as regards the Institute going ahead with the clinical trial of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate despite the doubts about patient safety.

The notice was issued in the wake of an advert incident on 8th September, 2020, where one of the participants in the UK, reported a possible adverse reaction, when administered a booster dose of Covishield, a vaccine candidate developed jointly by the Pharma giant – AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.

“Whereas, Serum Institute of India Pvt Ltd, Pune, till now has not informed the Central licensing authority regarding pausing the clinical trial carried out by AstraZeneca in other countries and also not submitted casualty analysis of the reported serious adverse event with the investigational vaccine for the continuation of phase 2 and 3 clinical trials of the subject vaccine in the country in light of the safety concerns,” the notice by DGCI read.

The DGCI further asked the institute why the authority had not suspended permission given to the SII for the clinical trials of Covishield.

“In view of the above, I, Dr. V G Somani, Drugs Controller General of India and Central Licensing Authority, hereby give you an opportunity to show cause as provided under rule 30 of the New Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules, 2019, why the permission granted to you August 2 shall not be suspended till patient safety is established,” the notice said.

SII is the partner of the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute’s to conduct the vaccine trials. SII is currently progressing the second and third phase study of the vaccine candidate at 17 trial sites across India.

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