New Delhi- 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), the government’s top medical research body has said.
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.
“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.
“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.
The institutes selected for the clinical trial are in Visakhapatnam, Rohtak, New Delhi, Patna, Belgaum (Karnataka), Nagpur, Gorakhpur, Kattankulathur (Tamil Nadu), Hyderabad, Arya Nagar, Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh) and Goa.
Worldwide, scientists are racing to produce a vaccine for the deadly virus that has infected over 10 million, including 600,000 in India, and caused more than 500,000 deaths.
No vaccine has yet been approved for commercial use against COVID-19. More than a dozen possible vaccines from over 100 being developed globally are being tested on humans. Some have shown potential in early-stage trials.