Coronavirus vaccine: Jaipur-born in UK risked his life to participate in Oxford’s human trial

Paliwal is a pharmaceutical consultant who has been staying in London for over 10 years.  (Photo: Twitter/@Paliwaldeepak)
Paliwal is a pharmaceutical consultant who has been staying in London for over 10 years. (Photo: Twitter/@Paliwaldeepak)

When the world is scrambling to find a treatment for coronavirus infection, an United Kingdom citizen with an Indian descent has come forward to contribute to the development of the COVID-19 vaccine. Forty-two-year old Deepak Paliwal has volunteered for the human trial for coronavirus vaccine led by the Oxford university.

Paliwal took part in the second phase of human trial of COVID-19 vaccine conducted by Oxford University. He said he learnt about the trial during the first leg of April and enrolled himself. He was first screened at St George Hospital in London for preliminary health parameters on April 26. The medical researchers showed him a video and informed about the risk factors involved in the process which ranged from organ damage to mortality. But nothing stopped Deepak Paliwal from taking part in the development of COVID-19 vaccine. His wife did not support his decision at first, he added.

Paliwal said he kept thinking how could he contribute to the global fight against coronavirus and decided to enroll as a volunteer for the human trial. “My brain is quite useless now, so I thought how I can use my body?” he said in an interview.

Paliwal is a pharmaceutical consultant who has been staying in London for over 10 years. He hails from Jaipur, Rajasthan. After the successful completion of his trial, Paliwal’s courage was welcomed by his family. Phase II trial was done on 1,000 individuals.

The United Kingdom’s biggest vaccine project — ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 is made from a virus (ChAdOx1), which is a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) that causes infections in chimpanzees, that has been genetically changed so that it is impossible for it to replicate in humans.

Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the Jenner Institute, said: ‘The COVID-19 vaccine trial team have been working hard on assessing the safety and immunogenicity of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, and preparing to assess vaccine efficacy.”

The project has already started Phase III of the human trials to assess how the vaccine works in a large number of people over the age of 18, and how well the vaccine works to prevent people from becoming infected and unwell with COVID-19.

Kate Bingham, chair of the UK Government Vaccine Taskforce, said that, excluding the Oxford vaccine programme, she hoped there would be a breakthrough by early 2021.

With inputs from Live Mint