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Explained: can India launch Covid-19 vaccine by August 15?

Jul 07, 2020 13:39 IST

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) plans to launch its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin made in collaboration with Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) by August 15 for public use. Can a vaccine be launched this fast? What is the process of developing a vaccine and launching it for public use? Dr. Anant Bhan, Researcher, Global Health, Bioethics and Health Policy, says that vaccine development is a complex process. In general, vaccine development is broken down into multiple phases: in the pre-clinical phase, researchers or a pharma company identify a vaccine candidate, including single or multiple animal species on whom vaccines are tried first. The results are collated and presented to relevant authorities for human trials. Post this, phase 1 studies move into human trials and check for safety of dosage sizes and any immediate side effects. Phase 2 checks for the immune responses triggered by vaccines and phase 3 involves efficacy studies on atleast 2 different types of groups. Watch BOOM's Govindraj Ethiraj interview Dr Anant Bhan on how complicated the process to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 will be and that August 15, 2020 is not an achievable deadline for vaccine launch for public use.