Science Ministry retracts statement after saying COVID-19 vaccine unlikely before 2021

08 Juillet, 2020, 00:37 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • India Defends Fast Timeline for COVID-19 Vaccine Trials

Last week, the Indian government gave two of them, Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadila, permission to start phase I and II human clinical trials of their most advanced vaccines, named covaxin and ZyCov-D respectively.

"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", according to the statement.

The candidate vaccine - based on a killed strain of the coronavirus isolated by the ICMR's National Institute of Virology, Pune, from an asymptomatic patient - is under joint development by the ICMR and the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech.

Before being edited, the statement stated that along with the two Indian vaccine candidates, Covaxin and ZyCov-D, 11 of the 140 candidates worldwide have entered the human trials stage and none of these is likely to be ready for mass use before 2021.

Given that the coronavirus is spreading in the country at an exponential rate, people are waiting for the vaccine to be available soon. We only said that we envisage having a vaccine by 15 August and it is not a deadline. Each can take months, or years, to be completed.

It has also sought a lower threshold for proving if its vaccine worked and resisted the government scientists' insistence on monitoring trial participants' oxygen levels, a marker that could indicate risky complications, Reuters reported.

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"Finding a safe and efficicatious vaccine is the ultimate goal that has bcome a global emergency, to significantly impact and to change the course of the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused so much devastation and misery to the whole of humankind and the future of the world", said Eskom.

The board is independent of investigators, organisations, and institutions conducting vaccine clinical trials. The authority has given billions of dollars to five other drug makers working on their own COVID-19 vaccines.

Moderna - which has never produced an approved drug or vaccine ― has squabbled with government scientists over its planned Phase 3 clinical trial, delayed delivering trial protocols, and resisted experts' advice on how to run the study, three unidentified sources familiar with the vaccine project told Reuters.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are 19 vaccine candidates now in the clinical evaluation as of July 6. It is based on this that companies progress to a Phase-3, where the vaccine is tested in thousands in real world settings, to evaluate if it is working.

Several researchers said the lingering question was why the head of the country's apex health research agency would suggest that a vaccine could be prepared for public use within six weeks of the start of safety trials, given the challenges in vaccine development.

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