COVID-19: ICMR Adds 12 Institutes Including 1 From Odisha For Covaxin Trials
Courtesy: Gloria Methri, Republic
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has shortlisted 12 institutes, including one from Odisha, for human clinical trial of India’s first COVID-19 vaccine. ICMR has developed the indigenous BBV152 COVID vaccine in partnership with Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL). The apex body selected 12 institutes to fast track clinical trials of the vaccine which is one of the top priority projects monitored by the Central 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,” an official said.
ICMR aims to launch vaccine by August 15
The medical research body aims to launch the vaccine for public use by August 15, 2020, after completing all clinical trials. BBIL is working efficiently to meet the target, however, the final outcome depends on the cooperation of all clinical trial sites involved in this project, the ICMR said.
In view of the public health emergency due to Coronavirus pandemic, the selected institutes are strictly advised to fast track the trial process and ensure that the subject enrolment begins in the first week of July.
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.
Speaking to Republic, Bharat Biotech’s MD had spoken about the difficulty in getting adequate number of people to sign up for the Clinical trial, though since then, the ICMR appears to have stepped in and expanded the scope significantly. The stakes are high both health-wise and economically to release the first Covid vaccine. Not only are many countries in the race, but since India is one of the largest producers of vaccines globally, if an Indian vaccine was to be licensed, the scope for exports would be a game-changer.