Opining on India’s indigenous COVID-19 vaccine in the global race, Ministry of Science & Technology’s scientist Dr. T. V. Venkateshwaran, on Sunday, said that mass usage of any COVID-19 vaccine is unlikely to be ready till 2021. Venkateshwaran – scientist at Vigyan Prasar – which comes under the Centre, stated that the nod given to COVAXIN and ZyCov-D Vaccine indicated the ‘beginning of the end’. In an article published by PIB, he stated that two of the leading candidates of the 140 vaccines in human trial phases – AZD1222 developed by Oxford University and MRNA-1273 vaccine by Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute have inked an agreement with Indian manufacturers.
Centre’s scientist opines: Mass use of Vaccine unlikely till 2021
Pointing out that Indian manufacturers account for 60% of vaccine supplies made to UNICEF, he said mass production of any COVID-19 vaccine will be impossible without India. He writes, ” Along with the two Indian vaccines, COVAXIN and ZyCov-D, the world over, 11 out of 140 vaccine candidates have entered the human trials. None of these vaccines is unlikely to be ready for mass use before 2021″. Furthermore, he said that six companies are working on a vaccine for COVID-19, presently in India.
Here is the PIB article
ICMR fast-tracks Covaxin trials
On Friday, ICMR fast-tracked BBIL’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine – Covaxin’s clinical trials. In an official statement, ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava stated that ICMR aims to launch the indigenous COVID-19 vaccine by August 15. Covaxin was approved by the DCGI recently to proceed to clinical trials after it showed promise in its pre-clinical data.
The country’s apex medical body has selected 12 institutes across the country and has advised them to expedite approvals and complete recruiting for the trials by 7 July. “Kindly note that non-compliance will be viewed seriously,” the letter states, adding that the institutions must treat this project on the highest priority and meet the given timelines without any lapse. Apart from Odisha, institutes selected for the clinical trial are located in Visakhapatnam, Rohtak (Haryana), New Delhi, Patna, Belgaum (Karnataka), Nagpur (Maharashtra), Gorakhpur, Kanpur (UP), Kattankulathur (Tamil Nadu), Hyderabad, Arya Nagar and Goa.
Scientists question ‘rushed vaccine’ deadline
Reacting to the ICMR letter, several experts had raised fears that its safety and efficacy could be compromised. Moreover, scientists have disapproved the strict and ‘nearly impossible’ timeline set by ICMR with an aim to launch the vaccine by August 15. Scientists have also questioned the feasibility of mass production of the vaccine if desired results are achieved. ICMR has defended its move stating that they are committed to treating public safety as the topmost priority and said that the process followed by the apex medical body is in ‘accordance with the globally accepted norms to fast-track vaccine development’.