Desi Covid-19 vaccine likely to be launched by August 15: media

The media on Friday reported that India was eyeing to launch the first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine by August 15. The reports were based on a letter from Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to the chiefs of clinical trial sites to expedite the enrollment of subjects and finish the process by July 7.

The media quoted ICMR DG Balram Bhargava’s letter as saying: “ICMR has partnered with Bharat Biotech International Limited to fast track clinical trials of the indigenous COVID 19 vaccine being called BBV152 COVID vaccine. This is the first indigenous vaccine of India and is a top priority project for the government being monitored at the highest level. It is envisaged to launch the vaccine for public use latest by August 15 after completing the clinical trials. Bharat Biotech is working expeditiously to meet the targets but the final outcome would depend on the cooperation of clinical trial sites,”

The letter was written to the heads of King George College, Vishakapatnam, G Arjuna; Pt BD Sharma PGIMS University of Health Sciences, Rohtak, Rohtash Yadav and AIIMS New Delhi Director Randeep Guleria among others.

According to various media reports, the letter by the premier research institute also came with a warning to “deliver or face consequences.” “Kindly note the non-compliance will be viewed very seriously. Therefore, you are advised to treat the project on highest priority and meet the given timelines without any lapse,” the letter allegedly read.

ICMR sources have confirmed the authenticity of the letter to the media, but say it was only meant for internal communication. However the media was unable to get any comment from Bharat Biotech who refused to comment on the letter.