Will take at least 1.5 to 2 years to develop coronavirus vaccine: ICMR

Published: Mar 13, 2020, 09:49 IST | ANI | Mumbai

For now, we must try to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as much as possible and contain it, the ICMR head said.

Amid the coronavirus scare, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Thursday said that vaccines for the virus will take a minimum of 1.5 to 2 years to come into existence.

"Coronavirus is difficult to isolate but our first effort has been successful as now we have 11 such isolates. Figuring this isolate was a prime requisite for doing any kind of research. Now, we have a virus and it is safer to start from that base rather than the sequence of the gene to look at what should be the pretopes -- those which can lead to the development of the antibodies and what are those regions that should be used to vaccine," Dr Raman R Gangakhedar, head of ICMR told reporters in a press conference.

He also said, "For the vaccine to come into existence we need to understand that it will take 1.5 - 2 years with expatiated clinical trials and expatiated approvals to actually see it being used."

The ICMR head, however, said that certain viruses can reoccur with severity even after the vaccines being given.

"Hence, we need to factor the part that it could take a long time and there are potential hazards regarding the vaccination," he added.

For now, we must try to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as much as possible and contain it, the ICMR head said.

Earlier today, the Union health ministry said that with fresh cases reported from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Ladakh, the number of people who are COVID-19 positive has gone up to 73.

On February 5, it was reportedly said that the ICMR has sought emergency approval from Central Drug Control Organisation (CDCSO) to use a combination of anti-HIV drugs- 'Lopinavir and Ritonavir' tablets for the treatment of novel coronavirus (nCoV) patients in India, sources said.

"This decision has been taken in the recent meetings over the preparedness action on novel coronavirus. The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved to use the combination of 'Lopinavir and Ritonavir' tablets for the treatment of nCoV patients for restrictive use in the interest of the public health emergency," sources told ANI.

"As of now, there is no specific drug or vaccine to treat patients of coronavirus. Doctors across the globe are treating respiratory patients with supportive medication following the clinical guidelines of WHO," sources had said.

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