News/City Updates

Covid Suraksha vaccine trial centre opens in Visakhapatnam

In a landmark moment, for the medical infrastructure in the city, a new Covid-19 vaccine trial centre has opened in Visakhapatnam. This is the first such facility, in the two Telugu-speaking states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, and only the 19th such facility across the country. It has been established at Rural Health Centre (RHC) in Simhachalam. Andhra Medical College (AMC) had earlier submitted a proposal to the Centre for a vaccine trial centre in the city. 

This vaccine trial centre has been set up as part of Mission Covid Suraksha by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Union Ministry of Science and Technology. Among all the prestigious medical institutes in the state, Andhra Medical College was approved by the Centre to set up this facility. A budget of Rs. 1.7 crores have been dispersed, so far, by the Centre in order to establish this facility. 

The principal of Andhra Medical College, Dr PV Sudhakar, informed that a team of 17 individuals has been recruited to operate this facility. The team has scientists, lab technicians, field workers and data entry operators, About Rs. 1 crore of the funds have been utilised in acquiring new-age equipment and getting this vaccine trial centre up and running in Visakhapatnam. 

When a pharma company approaches this centre for vaccine trials, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be signed between the company, and the centre and clinical trials will begin. The results of the critical trials will be shared with the pharma company, which will then assess whether the vaccine is beneficial to the population of the country or not. Volunteers for the clinical trials will have to give their consent in audio as well as visual form. 

In the recent past, AMC has conducted clinical trials for the Bovishield and Covershield vaccines and the 2-DG drug, with the trials being largely successful. 

Talking about the ongoing vaccination process in the city, the AMC Principal said, “We have been doing well in vaccinating the people of Vizag. We have been making good use of the vaccine doses we have received. Unfortunately, there is a countrywide shortage of Covid-19 vaccines. When the vaccine becomes available in abundance, there’s a system in place to vaccinate all citizens.”

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