Indian pharma major Bharat Biotech has claimed to have invented the candidate vaccine for COVID-19, named Covaxin, which has been approved for trial on humans by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
A letter signed by ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava, which was sent to clinicians at 12 hospital sites selected to test a potential COVID-19 vaccine, became controversial after it was seen as exhorting scientists to speed up the processes and enable the vaccine to be made available for ‘public health use by August 15’.
This directive by ICMR was slammed by experts as it not only presumes that Covaxin will be successful but also that trials which ordinarily take several months can be compressed to a little over a month.
Vaccine development typically has multiple stages, including animal studies, followed by phase 1, phase 2 and phase 3 studies in humans. Skipping or expediting any of these phases could lead to a potentially ineffective or dangerous vaccine reaching people.
ICMR had said it ‘envisaged’ the vaccine to be launched by 15 August, which is India's Independence Day. But given the perils involved do you believe in ICMR’s vision or do you think the medical body should not resort to hasty solutions that may compromise rigorous scientific processes and standards as suggested by The Indian Academy of Sciences?
Do you believe there will be a vaccine for COVID-19 by August 15? Share your views below...