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DCGI sends show cause notice to Serum Institute for not pausing trial of COVID-19 vaccine

By Priyanka Sharma(ANI) | Updated: Sep 09, 2020 21:19 IST

New Delhi [India], September 9 (ANI): The Drugs Regulator General of India (DCGI) has issued a show-cause notice to pharma giant Serum Institute of India (SII) asking for an explanation as to why the ongoing clinical trial of Covishield vaccine candidate has not been suspended till doubts about patient safety are cleared.
The drug regulator's move comes after AstraZeneca, which is developing the vaccine candidate against COVID-19 with researchers of Oxford University, paused its trial as a volunteer developed an unexplained illness. The clinical trial has been put on hold across countries where it was being conducted - USA, UK, Brazil and South Africa.
Referring to reports of AstraZeneca halting the trials in the UK, Serum Institute of India (SII), which is conducting the trials in India, said the UK trials have been paused for further review.
"We can't comment much on the UK trials but they have been paused for further review and they hope to restart soon. As far as Indian trials are concerned, it is continuing and we have faced no issues at all," it said.
The notice to the Serum Institute has been issued by Drugs Regulator General of India Dr VG Somani.
"In view of the above 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 on August 2 shall not be suspended till patient safety is established," said the notice, a copy of which is with ANI.
It said that Serum Institute "uptill has not informed" the central licensing authority regarding pausing of clinical trial carried out by AstraZeneca in other countries and has "also not submitted a casualty analysis of the reported serious adverse event with the investigational vaccine for the continuation of phase II/III clinical trial of the subject vaccine in the country in light of the safety concerns".
"Your reply shall reach undersign immediately, else it shall be construed that you have no explanation to offer and action deemed fit will be taken against you," it added.
The country's apex drugs regulator had on August 2 granted permission to SII to conduct a phase II/III clinical trial of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 coronavirus vaccine (recombinant) at various clinical trial sites in the country to determine its safety and immunogenicity.
The vaccine will be manufactured by Serum Institute in India under technical collaboration with Oxford University/AstraZeneca and is called as Covishield (SII-ChAdOx1 nCoV-19).
Covishield vaccine contains replication-deficient simian adenovirus vector ChAdOx1 containing structural surface glycoprotein (spike protein) antigens of SARS-CoV-2. (ANI)