The first Made-in-India coronavirus vaccine may be launched by August 15, with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) fast-tracking efforts to develop “Covaxin” in partnership with Bharat Biotech International Limited. A dozen institutes have been selected for clinical trials of the indigenous COVID-19 vaccine (BBV152 COVID vaccine), said the government’s top medical research body
The institutes have been asked by the ICMR to step up clinical trials as it is a “priority project” monitored at the topmost level of the government.
According to a letter written by ICMR to the institutes, the vaccine is derived from a strain of SARS-CoV-2 isolated by the 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 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.
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 the highest priority and meet the given timelines without any lapse,” said ICMR’s letter.
After Bharat Biotech, Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila has been given the green light to begin Phase I and II human trials of another corona virus vaccine candidate. This is the second corona virus vaccine to get approval for human trials in India. Novel corona virus infections continue to climb here with India becoming the world’s fourth worst-hit nation.
With drug manufacturers across the world scrambling to develop a vaccine for Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila said it has received approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to conduct human studies for its coronavirus vaccine candidate.
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