India has targeted to launch its first coronavirus vaccine by August 15 as the pandemic disease is taking a heavy toll on people across the world.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has partnered with Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) to fast track-clinical trials of the indigenous Covid-19 vaccine (BBV152 COVID Vaccine), the ICMR said.“This is the first indigenous vaccine being developed by India is one of the top priority projects which is being monitored at the topmost level of the Indian government,” Prof Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General of the ICMR, said in a letter to research groups.
“The vaccine is derived from a strain of SARS Cov-2 isolated by ICMR-National Institute of Virology, Pune. The ICMR and BBIL are jointly working for the preclinical as well as clinical development of this vaccine. It is envisaged to launch the vaccine for public health use by August 15 this year,” he said.
The BBIL is working expeditiously to meet the target. However, the final outcome will depend on the cooperation of all clinical trial sites involved in this project, the letter added.
The ICMR chief has also directed selected groups which have been chosen as a clinical trial site informing them “You have been chosen as a clinical trial site of the BBV152 COVID Vaccine.”
“In view of the public health emergency due to the Covid-19 pandemic and urgency to launch the vaccine, you are strictly advised to fast track for all approvals related to initiation of the clinical trial and ensure that the subject enrolment is initiated no later than 7th July 2020.”
“Kindly, note that 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,” the letter reads.The institutions involved in Covid-19 vaccine trial include King George Hospital at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, University of Health Sciences, Rohtak, AIIMS at Ansari Nagar in New Delhi, AIIMS at Phulwarisharif in Patna of Bihar, Jeevan Rekha Hospital at B. R Ambedkar road in Karnataka, Gillurkar Multispeciality Hospital at Reshmibag, Umred road in Nagpur, Rana Hospital Pvt Ltd at Rail Vihar Medical College road in Chargawa Gorakhpur, SRM Medical College Hospital and Research Centre, SRM Nagar in Tamil Nadu, Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences Punjgutta at Hyderabad in Telengana, Kalinga Nagar, IMS and SUM Hospital at Bhubaneswar, Prakhar Hospital Pvt Ltd at Uttar Pradesh and Redkar Hospital And Research Center in Goa.
Across the globe, scientists are racing to produce a vaccine for the deadly coronavirus 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.