New Delhi: The Indian Council for Medical Research said on Friday that India is likely to participate in the solidarity trial of coronavirus vaccine to be conducted by the World Health Organization.
Speaking at a press conference here, ICMR Chief Scientist Raman Gangakhedkar told the media that India is likely to start participation in solidarity trial for the vaccine of novel coronavirus. He also said that once the vaccine is developed, the ICMR would do everything possible to make it available for free for the people of the country.
“We are likely to start our participation soon in solidarity trial that the World Health Organization is starting. Earlier we did not do it because our numbers were so small that our contribution would have looked minuscule. At the same time, we are making an effort of indegenous diagnostic,” said Gangakhedkar.
He further said: “The National Institute of Virology in Pune develops indigenous diagnostics. As far as these diagnostics are concerned for dengue or chikungunya and many other diseases, we are the main supplier of many vector-borne disease programmes which we do free of cost. We are also trying to run the same course if it is required and if we develop one, we will support the national programme that way.”
The ICMR has asked the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) to undertake vaccine development programme.
“We have asked DBT to undertake vaccine development programme because we don’t have that much capacity as DBT. At the same time, we are keeping a watch on some of the scientific groups that are working on vaccines. Currently, there are altogether 30 different groups which are working on developing vaccines of which at least five are already going to animal toxicity studies.
“We have indicated our willingness to go for vaccine trials for our Indian population if they pass our animal study in order to look at the newer drug that might come,” said Gangakhedkar.
Elaborating more on what level the research on coronavirus vaccine has been reached, Gangakhedkar said, “ICMR has prioritised to look at repurposed molecules go for their vivo, in vitro testing on the isolates that we have already generated so that we get a clearer view as to whether the drug works in the laboratory against this particular strain and if the drug works then we can take it for subsequent trials.”
India is the fifth country globally to isolate the COVID-19 virus strain.