Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the United States and the one who is leading the COVID battle in the country, has said that India will have a key role in developing the vaccine for the novel coronavirus disease.
As per a report in The Hindu, Fauci was speaking at a web conference that was organized by the Indian Council of Medical Research. He said,
“India’s manufacturing capabilities are going to be very important. We have made it clear that all tests on vaccines will have to meet regulatory standards and include all ethical review and strong data monitoring and safety boards.”
Talking about the two vaccines that are being developed in the United States by two companies Moderna and Pfizer, he said,
“Moving forward, we and other [US National Institutes of Health] institutes will continue to work with Indian counterparts and colleagues, to assure that Indian scientists and Indian impressive research and development capacity are integrated into the global efforts to address the COVID-19 vaccine.”
The Indian vaccine, Covaxin, began its human trials last week. It was the first indigenous vaccine that got the permission to conduct human trials by the Drug controller general of India. The vaccine has been developed jointly by Bharat Biotech, the Indian Council of Medical Research, and the National Institute Virology.
Fauci Says Human Trials Not Required
Surprisingly, Fauci said that the human challenge trial where the vaccine will be injected into the healthy is not required at this stage. He even called it unethical. He said,
“We recently convened an expert consultation on the issue and the conclusion was that such studies are not necessary at this time. The continuing high incidence of the disease is concerning but it makes randomized control trials quite feasible. We don’t have effective therapies to cure individuals infected. These factors have led us to conclude that human challenges are not essential nor ethically justified presently.”