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India's Covid-19 vaccine target launch date concerns experts

Several Indian institutes are set to carry out clinical trials of India's first potential Covid-19 vaccine, but the timescales appear to be unrealistic.

Bangalore (India), 03/07/2020.- An Indian walks in front of the 'ÄòRed Cross'Äô symbol painted on a fence during an extended lockdown over suspected coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Bangalore, India, 03 July 2020. T

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is closely monitoring the work done by several Indian medical institutes in an attempt to speed up the process of developing the first Indian Covid-19 vaccine (Covaxin) in cooperation with Bharat Biotech International Limited.

ICMR was targeting a launch date of the vaccine for public use by 15 August, although experts doubt the ability to meet this deadline with clinical trials yet to begin.

India vaccine project is high priority

ICMR called on medical institutes set to participate in the trials to speed up the process by getting the approvals needed to start clinical trials, and make sure that the trials subjects get registered this week, as the project is being closely overlooked by the highest governmental authorities.

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The project results will be the final outcome produced by the cooperation of all institutes, and that's why they were advised in ICMR's letter to deal with this project and its trials as "high priority".

Medical experts doubt the deadline

On the other side, experts believe that the estimated duration for such vaccine trials is one year and three months, stating that it's unreasonable of the ICMR to announce such an unrealistic launch date for public use by 15 August.

For example, Amulya Nidhi of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, a network of organizations working on public health, commented:

"How can ICMR say that the vaccine will be launched for public use by August 15? How can the clinical trial be completed in just one month for a vaccine?"

Other experts claimed that only phase 1 of the trial can meet the 15 August deadline as it will last for 28 days, and it's unclear how ICMR is planning on launching the vaccine in mid-August.


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