ICMR: Fast-track clinical trials, need to launch vaccine for COVID-19 by August 15

Published: Jul 04, 2020, 08:15 IST | Agencies | New Delhi

ICMR writes to medical institutes and hospitals to ensure subject enrolment is initiated no later than July 7

Medical personnel taking swab samples of a man for nucleic acid testing as part of COVID-19 pandemic measures, at a health services centre. Pic/ AFP
Medical personnel taking swab samples of a man for nucleic acid testing as part of COVID-19 pandemic measures, at a health services centre. Pic/ AFP

Aiming to launch an indigenous COVID-19 vaccine by August 15, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has written to select medical institutions and hospitals to fast-track clinical trial approvals for the vaccine candidate Covaxin being developed in collaboration with Bharat Biotech. Twelve clinical trial sites have been identified at present and the apex health research body has asked the medical institutions and principal investigators to ensure that the subject enrollment is initiated no later than July 7.

The COVID-19 vaccine candidate Covaxin, developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the ICMR and the National Institute of Virology (NIV), had recently got the nod for human clinical trials from the DCGI. Noting that this was the first indigenous vaccine being developed by India, ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bhargava in his letter to principal investigators of the 12 sites said that it is one of the "top priority projects which is being monitored at the top-most level of the government".

"It is envisaged to launch the vaccine for public health use latest by August 15 after completion of all clinical trials. The BBIL is working expeditiously to meet the target, however, final outcome will depend on the cooperation of all clinical trial sites involved in this project," Bhargava said in the letter.

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