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India to get dedicated vaccine portal soon, says ICMR

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is working to create a dedicated vaccine portal which will provide all information related to vaccine development in India. The ICMR will make this vaccine portal public by next week, as per ANI report.

Initially, the ICMR portal will disseminate information on coronavirus vaccine in India. However, with time, data available for all the vaccines will be added to the portal.

“People can get all the updates on a vaccine in India under one roof. As of now, all the information is scattered. Therefore, after the directions from DG, we are working to develop this ICMR vaccine portal. Initially, the website will show data for COVID-19 vaccine. But, in future, we will update the website with information for other vaccines too as ICMR is an institute of bio-medical research,” Dr Samiran Panda, Scientist and head of the Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases (ECD) Division of ICMR, said, reported ANI.

“The Central government along with the ICMR is making all best efforts to combat coronavirus pandemic. Wearing masks, hand-hygiene and social distancing are preventive measures but at the same time vaccine development is another important aspect which will be updated on the ICMR vaccine portal,” said Dr Panda.

As of now, there are three potential COVID-19 vaccines in India which are in different phases of the clinical study.

The first one is indigenous COVID-19 vaccine ‘Covaxin’, which is being developed by Hyderabad-based Biotech International Limited in collaboration with the ICMR. Last month, Bharat Biotech started clinical trials for Covaxin on 1,125 patients at 12 hospitals across the country including All India Institute of Medical Sciences. The company is yet to announce when it will launch the vaccine, though Bharat Biotech’s CMD Krishna Ella had said that to ensure safety and efficacy it would not expedite the vaccine with short-cuts.

Similarly, the second one is Zydus Cadila’s ZyCoV-D COVID vaccine, which has successfully cleared the first phase of clinical trials. While the second phase of human clinical trials, involving 1,000 volunteers, begun on August 6, the vaccine is targeted to hit markets by early next year. The vaccine, using the platform of plasmid DNA, was found to be safe and well-tolerated in the Phase I, which began on 15 July, said Zydus Cadila.

The third is Serum Institute’s ‘Covishield’ that received approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to conduct phase 2 and phase 3 clinical study in the country. The vaccine is likely to be launched in the first week of December. The government has given the company a ‘special manufacturing priority license’ and fast-tracked the trial protocol processes to get the trials completed in 58 days. The trial among 1,600 volunteers at 17 centres, each with about 100 volunteers, started on Aug 22. – Business Today