Want to Enrol for a COVID Vaccine Trial? Here’s What to Do

With the vaccine development for the novel coronavirus reaching the human trials phase, there is a requirement for volunteers wishing to participate in the trial. Here’s a lowdown on everything you need to know and the risks involved. 

As the number of coronavirus fatalities shows no sign of slowing down, the race to come out with a vaccine against the virus has sped up. Serum Institute of India, Zydus Cadila and Bharat Biotech have made remarkable progress in this direction and are now looking for volunteers who aim to make a contribution towards one of the biggest medical challenges of the century.

Who can be a vaccine volunteer?

The Indian Society for Clinical Research (ISCR) lays down certain criteria like age and illnesses to select eligible candidates. As the trial progresses, the criteria are modified to test if the vaccine can protect more vulnerable people.

For the first phase of human trials, Zydus Cadila (ZyCov-D) and Bharat Biotech (Covaxin) enrolled volunteers aged 18-55 years who do not have diseases like asthma, diabetes or high blood pressure.

As they progressed to the second stage, the age criterion has been modified to include candidates above the age of 12. However, it is important to note that you will not be eligible for another trial if you have already participated in one. Notably, pregnant women can also be a participant in vaccine studies. As the trial is a long-drawn process, a participant might have to visit the research site 10-12 times during the process.

How to enrol?

After receiving approvals for conducting clinical trials, a site can advertise for volunteers after getting clearance from the ethics committees. Those interested can themselves look up for opportunities on the Clinical Trial Registry of India, which lists all essential details about a specific trial. AIIMS Delhi has been selected by ICMR, along with 11 other institutes, for conducting human trials for Covaxin. Individuals wishing to enroll as a volunteer can send an email to ctaiims.covid19@gmail.com or send an SMS/call on 7428847499.

The Risks Involved

After thoroughly explaining the procedure, the volunteers need to give their consent in both audio and visual format.

As per regulations, no compensation can be paid to volunteers for participating in any vaccine trial in India. However, compensation ranging from Rs 2 lacs to 74 lacs has been ensured by the trials rules of India for any adverse reactions, including death. It is noteworthy that vaccine trials are usually considered to be very safe as the trials are first conducted on animals having the same genetic coding as human.

Participation in vaccine trials in India is entirely voluntary, and if there’s anything you are uncomfortable about in the consent document, you can opt-out any time.

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