India targets to launch Covid-19 vaccine by August 15
NEW DELHI : India’s first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine (BBV152 COVID vaccine) may be launched by August 15. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has written to select medical institutions and hospitals to fast-track clinical trial approvals for the vaccine.
The ICMR said that it is envisaged to launch the vaccine for public health use latest by August 15, after completion of all clinical trials.
“The whole world is trying to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. There are over 100 candidate vaccines which are at different levels of development. The World Health Organisation (WHO) is coordinating the efforts. India is also actively contributing to it. There are 14 candidates in India also which are at different levels…” Union Health Minister Harsha Vardhan said.
He said the Department of Biotechnology of the Ministry of Science and Technology is helping the academic world and industry in all manners such as giving regulatory clearances, grants or financial support, among other things. “As far as I know, four of our fourteen vaccines will soon be in the clinical trial stage, within 4 to 5 months. All the 14 are right now at the pre-clinical trial stage.”
However, the Minister cautioned that it is too early to expect any vaccine against the disease because there is a long due procedure involved in its development. “It will take minimum one year for the development of any vaccine even if it is developed earliest.
1) ICMR has partnered with Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) for clinical trials of indigenous vaccine ‘Covaxin’ for the coronavirus disease.
2) The 12 institutes selected for the clinical trial are located in Visakhapatnam, Rohtak, New Delhi, Patna, Belgaum (Karnataka), Nagpur, Gorakhpur, Kattankulathur (Tamil Nadu), Hyderabad, Arya Nagar, Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh), Goa, and Bhubaneswar-based Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital.
3) ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bhargava in his letter to principal investigators of the 12 sites said that it is one of the “top priority projects which is being monitored at the top-most level of the government”.
“It is envisaged to launch the vaccine for public health use latest by August 15 after completion of all clinical trials ” Bhargava said in the letter. A copy of the letter has been sent to the Bharat Biotech.
4) The indigenous, inactivated vaccine was developed and manufactured in Bharat Biotech’s facility located in Genome Valley in Hyderabad. 5) Bharat Biotech India Ltd’s covid-19 vaccine ‘Covaxin’ has become the first candidate developed in India to receive the Drug Controller General of India’s approval to enter human trials.
So far, India has two indigenous manufacturers for the potential COVID-19 vaccine. Another potential coronavirus vaccine is indigenously developed by Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila Healthcare.
“The vaccine is derived from a strain of SARS-CoV-2 isolated by ICMR-National Institute of Virology, Pune. ICMR and BBIL are jointly working for the pre-clinical as well as clinical development of this vaccine,” the ICMR said in a letter to the institutes.
The ICMR talked about plans to launch the vaccine for public health use by August 15, Independence Day. Experts have questioned the deadline, since the clinical trial is yet to begin. “It is envisaged to launch the vaccine for public health use latest by 15th August 2020 after completion of all clinical trials,” said the research body.
The final outcome will depend on the cooperation of all clinical trial sites involved in this project, the ICMR told the institutes, advising them to speed up approvals related to clinical trials and ensure that subjects are enrolled starting this week.
“Non-compliance will be viewed very seriously. Therefore, you are advised to treat this project on highest priority and meet the given timelines without any lapse,” said ICMR’s letter.
Meanwhile, India reported the highest ever single-day spike of 20,903 COVID-19 cases, according to the data released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. With this, India’s corona virus tally has risen to 6,25,544.
(With Agency Inputs ).