ICMR partners with Bharat Biotech to develop fully indigenous vaccine for COVID-19

Our Bureau, MumbaiMonday, May 11, 2020, 16:15 Hrs  [IST]

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has announced a tie-up with Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) for the development of fully indigenous vaccine for COVID-19. “The virus strain isolated at ICMR’s National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune. The strain has been successfully transferred from NIV to Bharat Biotech International. The work on vaccine development has been initiated between the two partners”, a statement issued by the ICMR said. ICMR and BBIL will seek fast-track approvals to expedite vaccine development, subsequent animal studies and clinical evaluation of the candidate vaccine, the ICMR statement said. India has already recorded 67,152 COVID-19 cases including 2,206 deaths. In the last 24 hours, 3,320 new confirmed cases have been added and 1,307 patients were found cured. The fatality rate is 3.3 per cent and recovery rate is 29.9 per cent, said Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan. He also added that there are 2.41 per cent present active COVID-19 patients in ICU, 0.38 per cent on ventilators and 1.88 per cent on oxygen support. “The testing capacity has increased in the country and it is 95,000 tests per day with 332 government laboratories and 121 private laboratories. Cumulatively, 15,25,631 tests have been done so far for COVID-19,” he further added. Currently, no specific treatment or vaccine against the coronavirus is available across the world. More than a hundred vaccines are under development around the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Eight of such vaccines, including ones being developed by US-based biotech company Moderna and the University of Oxford, are undergoing clinical evaluation. ICMR’s research agenda align with the National health priorities. These efforts are undertaken with a view to reduce the total burden of disease and to promote the health and well-being of the population.