Covid Vaccine: ICMR Seeks To Fastrack Clinical Trials Of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin

Covid Vaccine: ICMR Seeks To Fastrack Clinical Trials Of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin

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The Indian Council of Medical Research has written to select medical institutions and hospitals to fast-track clinical trials of Covaxin, a covid vaccine being developed in collaboration with Bharat Biotech Ltd.

ICMR aims to launch a ‘Made in India' Covid-19 vaccine by Aug. 15 this year.

The apeax health research body has identified 12 clinical research sites and asked them to ensure that the subject enrolment is initiated no later than July 7.

The Covid-19 vaccine candidate Covaxin, developed by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the ICMR and the National Institute of Virology, recently got the approval for human clinical trials from the Drug Controller General of India.

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. BBIL is working expeditiously to meet target, however, final outcome will depend on the cooperation of all clinical trial sites involved in this project,” the letter stated.

The vaccine is derived from a strain of SARS-CoV-2 isolated by ICMR-National Institute of Virology. ICMR-Pune and Bharat Biotech are jointly working for the pre-clinical as well as clinical development of this vaccine, according to the letter.

The letter warned that any non-compliance will be viewed very seriously.

"Kindly note non-compliance will be viewed very seriously. Therefore, you are advised to treat this project on highest priority and meet the given timelines without any lapse," the letter stated.

A copy of the letter has been sent to Bharat Biotech.

India's Covid-19 cases soared by over 20,000 in a day for the first time, taking the total tally to 6,25,544 on Friday. The death toll rose to 18,213 with 379 new fatalities, according to the union health ministry's data.

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