Bharat Biotech’s COVID Vaccine Could Be Launched In Feb 2021: ICMR

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New Delhi: With last-stage trials beginning this month, the Indian government-backed COVID-19 vaccine could be launched in February. Since studies so far show that it is safe and effective, it could come months earlier than expected

Earlier, Bharat Biotech, a private company that is developing COVAXIN with the government-run Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), had hoped to launch it only in the second quarter of next year, The Hindu reported quoting Reuters.

“The vaccine has shown good efficacy,” senior ICMR scientist Rajni Kant, who is also a member of its COVID-19 task-force was quoted as saying at the research body’s New Delhi headquarters on Thursday.

“It is expected that by the beginning of next year, February or March, something would be available.”

Bharat Biotech has not made any official in this regard.

It is up to the health ministry to decide if COVAXIN shots can be given to people even before the third stage trials are over, Kant, head of ICMR’s research management, policy, planning and coordination cell was quoted as saying.

“It has shown safety and efficacy in the phase 1 and 2 trials and in the animal studies – so it is safe but you can’t be 100% sure unless the phase 3 trials are over,” he added.

“There may be some risk, if you are ready to take the risk, you can take the vaccine. If necessary, the government can think of giving the vaccine in an emergency situation,” he was further quoted a saying by The Hindu.

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