ICMR May Launch COVID-19 Vaccine by 15th August

India is currently in the works of creating a indigenous vaccine for COVID-19.

India is the world's third worst-hit country for coronavirus. The number of cases of the coronavirus in India is more than 625,000 and the death toll is above 18,000. There are about 100 candidates globally working on making coronavirus vaccine, more than a dozen are currently being tested in humans. Some have shown potential in early-stage trials. However, no vaccine has yet been approved for commercial use. There are seven Indian firms working on Covid-19 vaccines. Bharat Biotech International Ltd (BBIL) and Zydus Cadila have got an approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for human clinical trials for their indigenously developed a vaccine for coronavirus disease.

BBIL was the first to get the DCGI approval to begin Phase 1 and Phase 2 human trials. Bharat Biotech is a Hyderabad-based biotechnology giant. After a few days,  Zydus got a similar approval for human trials for its vaccine. On Monday 29th June, BBIL had claimed that they have successfully developed India’s first Covid-19 vaccine,“Covaxin” and that they have the permission from the drug controller (DCGI) to start human clinical trials. They said that the human clinical trials of its vaccine will start from July. 

BBIL said the vaccine was developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology (NIV). BBIL completed comprehensive pre-clinical studies in two months. It said results from these studies have been promising. On Friday 3rd July, in an official statement, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director-General Balram Bhargava said that it is trying to launch the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine on 15th August. But it depends on how the trials are completed. 

On Friday 3rd July, Zydus said that its potential vaccine ZyCoV-D showed a “strong immune response” in animal studies and the antibodies produced were able to completely neutralize the wild type virus. Zydus said that the company will begin human trials this month in more than 1,000 subjects in multiple sites in India.