The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said on Friday that it is trying to launch the world’s first COVID vaccine, Covaxin, by August 15. The statement has triggered skepticism among experts and scientists who are positive that the process is comfortably long and cannot be concluded in a mere six weeks. The said process requires painstaking tests and examinations which cannot be conducted well in the little time that is left until the deadline.
However, ICMR seems resolute on their statement as reflected in their press release today. In the release, ICMR stated that-“After intense characterization and review of all data from BBIL, ICMR is supporting the clinical development as the vaccine candidate appears to be promising. Based on in-depth scrutiny of the available data from the pre-clinical studies, the Drugs Controller General of India has accorded permission to conduct phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials.”
The head of the topmost medical research body of India, Dr. Balram Bhargava was quoted saying-“It is envisaged to launch the vaccine for public health use latest by 15 August 2020 after completion of all clinical trials. BBIL (Bharat Biotech) is working expeditiously to meet the target; however, the outcome will depend on the cooperation of all clinical trial sites involved."
On July 2nd, Dr. Bhargava wrote to 12 trial sites for the Covid-19 vaccine candidate, Covaxin that all clinical trials had to be completed by August 15, in time for a public launch. Since then a lot of questions have been raised over this by experts and opposition parties.
ICMR’s process is exactly in accordance with globally accepted norms to fast-track the vaccine development for diseases of pandemic potential wherein human and animal trials can continue in parallel: ICMR on #COVID19 vaccine candidate developed by Bharat Biotech International Ltd pic.twitter.com/WDShqRJ9CK— ANI (@ANI) July 4, 2020
ICMR’s press release states that they are committed to treating the safety and interest of people of India as a topmost priority
ICMR is amongst the world’s most reputed organizations in the field of medical research and regulation and its track record of facilitating India’s globally respected and acknowledged vaccine and drug industry speaks for itself: ICMR