India’s first COVID-19 vaccine expected to get launched by August

By Purvi Jain

The first made-in-India vaccine for coronavirus is expected to be launched by August 15, 2020, with the fast-tracking efforts of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in partnership to develop “covaxin” with Bharat Biotech International Limited.

The government’s top medical bodies have said that a dozen of medical institutes have been shortlisted for chemical trials of COVID-19 vaccine (BBV152 COVID vaccine).

The institutes have been asked by ICMR to start clinical trials as it is the “primary project” which is being monitored at the topmost level of government.

ICMR stated in a letter to the institutes, “The vaccine has derived a strain of SARS-CoV-2 isolated by IMCR – National Institute of Virology, Pune. ICMR and BBIL are jointly working for the pre-clinical and clinical development of the vaccine.”

ICMR has a plan to launch the vaccine for public health use by August 15, Independence Day.

The research body says, “It is envisaged to launch the vaccine for public health use latest by 15th August 2020 after completion of all clinical trials.”

The final outcome depends upon the corporation based on all clinical sites involved. ICMR told the institutes to speed up the trials and ensure subjects are being enrolled starting from this week.

ICMR letter said, “Non-compliance will be viewed very seriously. Therefore, you are advised to treat this project on the highest priority and meet the given timeliness without any lapse.”

The selected institutes for the clinical trials are in Visakhapatnam, Rohtak, New Delhi, Patna, Belgaum  (Karnataka), Nagpur, Gorakhpur, Kattankulathur (Tamil Nadu), Hyderabad, Arya Nagar, Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh) and Goa.

All the scientists, worldwide, are in the race to find a cure to the deadly virus spread around the world which infected over 10 million people including 6 lakh people of India, and has caused more than 5 lakh deaths.

No vaccine has been yet approved for commercial use for COVID-19. More than a dozen vaccines are being developed which has been tested on human beings. Some vaccines showed responses to early-stage trials.

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