Following global norms on fast-tracking vaccine: ICMR

Says researchers should not be second-guessed for their professionalism

Following global norms on fast-tracking vaccine: ICMR

Photo for representational purpose only. iStock

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 4

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Saturdau rejected apprehensions about fast-tracking India’s first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine (COVAXIN) saying the best of India’s medical professionals and researchers should not be second-guessed for their professionalism or adherence to highest scientific rigour.

Defending the August 15 timeline for COVAXIN launch, as mentioned in a letter by ICMR chief Balram Bhargava to principal investigators at the vaccine’s 13 clinical trial sites, the agency said the fast-tracking was as per globally accepted norms.

“Faced with unprecedented nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, all other vaccine candidates across the globe have been similarly fast-tracked. 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,” ICMR said about COVAXIN, an inactivated vaccine it has developed in partnership with Bharat Biotech International Limited.

“The letter by the DG-ICMR to investigators of the clinical trial sites was meant to cut unnecessary red tape without bypassing any necessary process and to speed up recruitment of participants,” said the council.

“While issues raised in public domain by commentators are welcome, the best of India’s medical professionals and research scientists should not be second-guessed for their professionalism,” the council said.

Meanwhile, the Covid case count on Saturday reached 6,48,315 on the back of record spike of 22,771 infections. With 442 deaths in 24 hours, the total number of fatalities reached 18,655. The government, meanwhile, revised national clinical management protocol for Covid-19, reducing the overall dose of antiviral Remdesivir to be given to moderately ill patients from six days to five days.

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