As expected in recent news , corona virus vaccination can be launched on 15 august 2020 but now the vaccine for COVID-19 can be expected only by early next year, a parliamentary panel was informed on Friday. The House panel of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Climate heard presentations by the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Biotechnology, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the principal scientific adviser to the government on Centre’s preparedness for COVID-19.
Sources said that the panel was informed that a COVID-19 vaccine could be available only by early next year. The panel which is chaired by senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, saw six other members in attendence for the meeting.
This was the first meeting of the panel since the country wide lockdown to curb the novel coronavirus outbreak was imposed on March 25.
On July 2, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in a statement had announced that it would partner with Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) to fast-track clinical trials of the indigenous COVID-19 vaccine (BBV152 COVID Vaccine).
In an official statement, ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava stated that ICMR aims to launch the indigenous COVID-19 vaccine by August 15.
- COVAXIN has become the first vaccine candidate developed in India to receive the DCGI nod to conduct phase 1 and 2 clinical trials
- The ICMR’s August 15 deadline for the India’s first indigenous coronavirus vaccine has created confusion among experts.
- A safe and effective vaccine is the best way to control and finally end the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus. With more than 200 candidates being developed across the world, vaccine development is moving at unprecedented speed. Joining the global race to create a safe vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, Indian researchers will soon start testing the country’s first indigenous coronavirus vaccine candidate, COVAXIN, on 1,100 people in two phases – phase 1 and 2 clinical trials. Developed by Bharat Biotech in partnership with Indian Council Medical Research (ICMR) – National Institute of Virology (NIV), the experimental inactivated vaccine is derived from a strain of SARS-COV-2 virus isolated by ICMR-NIV, Pune. COVAXIN has demonstrated safety and immune response in preclinical studies.
- The world urgently needs a COVID-19 vaccine, which will help prevent and reduce the risk of infection, as well as resultant complications. However, there’s also a growing momentum of skeptics raising doubts about future vaccine programmes against other infectious diseases – with safety being a major concern. As COVID-19 continues to spread, pathways of vaccine development are changing in ways as researchers race against time to create a safe jab by shortening process time from the usual 15- to 20-year timeline to one that might be as short as one year. Perhaps, the ICMR’s 40-day target to launch Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine by August 15 has caused alarm among scientists and some in the medical fraternity. While the research body has clarified that the date was ‘not a deadline’, several experts have warned against any hasty solution that may compromise standards of scientific rigour.
- Experts, familiar with vaccine trials, including the AIIMS Director, New Delhi, have already said that such deadlines may not be met, given the vaccine is yet to undergo the phase 2/ 3 trials and still there are a few more stages to go through before it could get FDA regulatory approval for production, which in itself is a time-consuming task.
So, even if clinical trials vaccine is in accelerated mode all the world ( multi-centric trials), the whole process of vaccine approval by FDA to vaccine production and coming to market for effective distribution will not be before August 2021.
- Right now we are in a situation, where desperate time needs desperate measures – and at the fastest speed, it takes 12 to 18 months. Post-approval by the FDA, it should take around 1 – 1.5 years for the massive production of billions of vaccine doses.
- Hence, on the safer side, it looks like August 2021 for a viable COVID vaccine to enter the market.
So, we should maintain the precautions, use of face mask, hand sanitizer and social distancing now is the only medicine of covid-19 till covid-19 vaccine launch.