In what looks like an ambitious attempt, India has set a timeline for producing its first potential coronavirus vaccine. The deadline is six weeks.
Earlier this week, Bharat Biotech International Ltd received approval from the Indian Council of Medical Research to start human clinical trials for its experimental drug. Later, the medical body urged them to speed up the process in a bid to bring the drug to the public by the 15th of August. The medical body wrote in a letter that the coronavirus vaccine is being developed to be rolled out for public use by August 15th. It has been tagged as a top priority project and is being monitored by the topmost authorities of the government.
However, there has been no evidence of the drug to be safe for humans. The timeline is shorter than other potential vaccines of China and America who have gone into human clinical trials months before Bharat Biotech.
This might be India’s desperate attempt to stop the novel coronavirus from causing further havoc in the country. The virus has so far affected over 640,000 people in the country and killing over 18,600. India is the fourth worst-affected nation behind the United States of America, Brazil, and Russia.
Some Say Unrealistic
Anant Bhan, a medical researcher at India’s Manipal University wrote on Twitter,
“Such an accelerated development pathway has not been done EVER for any kind of vaccine, even the ones being tried out in other countries. Even with accelerated timelines, this seems rushed and hence, with potential risks.”
There have been speculations about the acceleration being a political pressure. The August 15 deadline might be to bring about good news on the occasion of India’s Independence Day. The Indian Council of Medical Research ruled out any bypass techniques being used. In a statement, it said,
“ICMR’s process is exactly in accordance with the globally accepted norms to fast-track the vaccine development for diseases of pandemic potential wherein human and animal trials can continue in parallel. Our trials will be done following the best practices and rigor, and will be reviewed as required.”