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Coronavirus vaccine: ICMR aims to launch COVAXIN by August 15

This is as per a letter written as internal communication by ICMR to Bharat Biotech asking for fast-tracking of the indigenous vaccine with an aim to launch by August 15.

July 03, 2020 / 07:31 PM IST

2 | Next crop of COVID-19 vaccine developers take more traditional route: The handful of drugmakers dominating the global coronavirus vaccine race are pushing the boundaries of vaccine technology. The next crop under development feature more conventional, proven designs. The world will need several different vaccines to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, given the sheer size of global need, variations in effects on different populations, and possible limits of effectiveness in the first crop. Many leading candidates now in final-stage testing are based on new, largely unproven technology platforms designed to produce vaccines at speed.


The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Thursday said that it aims to launch the Coronavirus vaccine being developed in partnership with Hydereabad-based Bharat Biotech for public health use by August 15.

This is as per a letter written as internal communication by ICMR to Bharat Biotech asking for fast-tracking of the indigenous vaccine with an aim to launch by August 15.

"It is envisaged to launch the vaccine for public health use latest by 15th August 2020 after completion of all clinical trials. 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," the letter says.

PM Modi had recently held a high-level meeting to take stock on the indigenous vaccine efforts.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Bharat Biotech, the company to whom the letter is addressed, has refused to comment on the matter.

ICMR sources confirm authenticity of the letter but say it was meant for internal communication.

Moneycontrol couldn't independently verify the letter.

The indigenous vaccine being developed in India is one of the top-priority projects which is being monitored at the top-most level of the government, the statement further read. 

"You have been chosen as a clinical trial site of the BBV152 COVID Vaccine. In view of the public health emergency due to COVID-19 pandemic and urgency to launch the vaccine, you are strictly advised to fast track all approvals related to the initiation of the clinical trial and ensure that the subject enrollment is initiated no later than 7th July 2020,” ICMR’s statement read.

India has over 6 lakh reported cases of coronavirus with over 19,000 deaths until July 2.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jul 3, 2020 08:26 am

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