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The first coronavirus vaccine in India could be released by 15 August

Pic Courtesy: Reuters

With the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) fast-tracking efforts to develop "Covaxin" in collaboration with Bharat Biotech International Limited, the first made-in-India coronavirus vaccine may be launched by August 15. For drug testing of the aboriginal COVID-19 vaccine (BBV152 COVID vaccine), a couple extra institutes have been selected, the top government medical research body has said.

The ICMR has asked the institutes to step up clinical trials as it is a "priority project," which is regulated at the top government level.

The ICMR said in a letter to the Institutes, "The vaccine is produced from a mutation of SARS-CoV-2 isolated by ICMR-National Institute of Virology, Pune. ICMR and BBIL are working together to grow this vaccine both pre-clinically and clinically."

The ICMR discussed plans to launch the vaccine for use in public health by Independence Day, August 15. Experts challenged the deadline, as the clinical trial has yet to start.

The end result will depend on the participation of all clinical trial sites involved in this initiative, the ICMR told the institutes, urging them to speed up clinical trial-related approvals and make sure subjects are enrolled beginning this week.

Scientists worldwide are rushing to develop a deadly virus vaccine that has infected more than 10 million people, including 600,000 in India, and caused more than 500,000 deaths.

No vaccine against COVID-19 has so far been approved for commercial use. More than a hundred potential vaccines are being clinically tested from over 100 emerging globally. Some have demonstrated potential in early phase trials.

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