In the second phase of trials in September and early October, 50 volunteers were given two doses of booster shots within a 14-day span. Four volunteers were administered the vaccine in the first phase that was completed on August 14.
Candidates from the first two phases are currently under observation. Hospital authorities are regularly following up on their condition and sending their blood samples to the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR).
Hospital officials say these volunteers will be under observation for another “six to seven months”. So far, none of them have complained of any adverse effects. The hospital said the volunteers, who all hail from in and around Belagavi city, are healthy.
In the third phase, Bharat Biotech Pvt Ltd, the company that has developed the vaccine, will administer doses to 1,000 volunteers. Amith S Bhate, director, Jeevan Rekha said about 28,000 will participate in the trials across 25 centres in the country.
“At Jeevan Rekha, we expect the vaccine to be tested on at least 1,000 people. We will launch trials in 15 days,” Bhate said.
Bhate said the hospital has requested the company to pick volunteers from Belagavi only, just as it had done for the previous two phases. He said logistics would be a nightmare if volunteers are chosen from other far-flung districts. “It is difficult for candidates to commute and follow-up tests would be difficult,” he said.
The efficacy of the vaccine would be known once the observation period ends for volunteers in the third phase, he said.