ICMR hopes to launch the India-developed Covid-19 vaccine, COVAXIN as early as February
A highly anticipated Covid-19 vaccine, COVAXIN, is being developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research). ICMR officials have said that the vaccine that was earlier being projected to launch only be second quarter of 2021, can now be hoped to be launched as early as February.
This is very early as per the expected timeline. The final clinical trials commence this month for the vaccine. The government official has said that so far, the vaccine has been deemed safe and effective.
Senior ICMR scientist Rajni Kant, a member of its Covid-19 task-force, said on Thursday at ICMR’s New Delhi headquarters, “The vaccine has shown good efficacy. It is expected that by the beginning of next year, February or March, something would be available.”
If the vaccine is launched by February successfully, it would make COVAXIN the first India-made vaccine to be rolled out for pubic.
Mr. Kant, who is the head of ICMR’s research management, policy, planning and coordination cell, said that it was the Centre’s decision to permit COVAXIN shots for public before the third round of trials is winded up.
He said, “It has shown safety and efficacy in the phase 1 and 2 trials and in the animal studies – so it is safe but you can’t be 100% sure unless the phase 3 trials are over. There may be some risk, if you are ready to take the risk, you can take the vaccine. If necessary, the government can think of giving the vaccine in an emergency situation.”
It was in September when Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had said that it was being considered to allow emergency use of Covid-19 vaccination for elderly people and those at high risk.
India is second only to the United States in the most number of Covid-19 confirmed cases with a tally of 8.36 million. Total deaths are now over 124,315.