Parliament Panel: COVID-19 Vaccine Won't Be Ready Before 2021

Representational Image - Sakshi Post

NEW DELHI: Researchers from CSIR, the Department of Science and Technology and Department of Biotechnology on Friday told the Parliamentary Standing Committee that no vaccine will be ready before early next year.

The officials of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Climate Change headed by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh met for the first time on July 10th since the lockdown due to coronavirus has been enforced in the country.

K Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, briefed members of the Parliament's Standing Committee on Science and Technology and gave presentations on the government's preparedness for COVID-19. In the presentation, he explained about the vaccines,  medicines and pharmaceuticals and health equipment.

The Vice President of India, Venkaiah Naidu tweeted that, "I am glad that Dept. Related Parliamentary Standing Committees have resumed functioning, three and  half months since the last sitting of Parliament on March 23rd."

He further tweeted that, "All possible measures were taken to enable committees' meetings by complying with the norms of social distancing, wearing of masks etc further to lifting of restrictions on domestic air travel in May. I am hopeful these committees would now go about examining  important issues concerning respective domains."

Earlier, ICMR released a statement which reads, "Just as red tape was not allowed to become a hindrance in the fast-track approval of new indigenous testing kits or to the introduction of related COVID-19 drugs in the Indian market, the indigenous vaccine development process was also sought to be insulated from slow file movement."

ICMR further added that, "While issues raised in public domain from time-to-time by commentators are welcome, as they form an important part of feedback loop, the best of India's medical professionals and research scientists should not be second guessed for their professionalism or adherence to the highest scientific rigour. ICMR is committed to treat the safety and interest of people of India as a topmost priority."

A senior government official said that "India is one of the leading manufacturers of vaccines and generic medicines and nearly 60 percent world's vaccines are developed in our country. So, we think India is going to play an important role in finding or manufacturing the vaccine."

While some members in the meeting also raised questions about the effectiveness of Ramdev's Patanjali Ayurved's Swasari Coronil Kit.

The first human clinical trials for vaccine candidates to be produced in India are scheduled to begin Monday, but the Ministry of Science and Technology said last week that only 11 out of 140 coronavirus vaccine candidates in the world were in human trials.

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