The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Thursday said that it has partnered 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. Bharat Biotech recently got a nod for clinical trial of its vaccine - Covaxin.
"This is the first indigenous vaccine being developed by India and is one of the top priority projects which is being monitored at the topmost level of the Government. The vaccine is derived from a strain of SARS-CoV-2 isolated by ICMR-National Institute of Virology, Pune. ICMR and BBIL are jointly working for the preclinical as well as clinical development of this vaccine," the statement said.
"It is envisaged to launch the vaccine for public health use latest by 15th August 2020 after completion of all 1st 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 statement added.
The country's apex medical body has selected 12 institutes, including one from Odisha, for the clinical trial of the country's first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine, an official said on Thursday. In view of the public health emergency due to COVID-19 pandemic and urgency to launch the vaccine, the selected institutes are strictly advised to fast track all approvals related to the initiation of the clinical trial and ensure that the subject enrolment is initiated during the first week of July.
India recorded 19,148 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours. According to the latest figures shared by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the death toll rose by 434. With this, the Coronavirus positive cases in India stand at 6,04,641 including 2,26,947 active cases, 3,59,860 cured/ discharged/ migrated. The total number of deaths recorded so far stands at 17,834.
According to the Health Ministry numbers, Maharashtra continues to lead the tally with 1,80,298 cases. while 79,091 of these are active cases, 93,154 people have been discharged/ cured so far. The death count in the state stands at 8,053.
(With agency inputs)