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Bharat Biotech to deliver Covid-19 vaccine by Independence Day?

Friday, July 3, 2020 • Tamil Comments

The nation on Friday woke up to the positive news that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is working towards ensuring that a Covid-19 vaccine is available by August 15. This is too good to be true. Or, so we think.

Be that as it may, ICMR has partnered with the Hyderabad-based pharma company Bharat Biotech for the purpose. “After the completion of all phases of clinical trials, the vaccine is envisaged to be released by August 15. Bharat Biotech International Limited is working expeditiously to meet the target," the director of ICMR has said in a letter.

There is a rider. "The final outcome will depend on the cooperation of all clinical trial sites involved in this project," the letter adds.

Curiously, Bharat Biotech has not said anything about the development (at the time of writing). Can the vaccine be available within 45 days? It looks like a Herculean task for sure.

Some commentators are skeptical. "ICMR really has much to answer. Vaccines don’t work to threats and deadlines (not six-week deadlines for sure) only because netas may like to do chest-thumping on August 15. Please take medical science seriously ICMR/Government of India," says senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai.

Supposedly, the letter was meant for internal communication. Its leak is a bit puzzling.

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