No Coronavirus vaccine appears possible before 2021, officials tell parliamentary panel

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New Delhi: Department of Science and Technology and Department of Biotechnology on Friday told a Parliament panel that no vaccine for coronavirus appears possible before early next year, it was learnt.

In a memo sent to researchers earlier this month, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had set an ambitious target for developing a vaccine by August 15.

Officials from these government science and technology departments and K VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, briefed the members of the Parliament Standing Committee on Science and Technology and gave presentations on the government’s preparedness for Covid-19 including on topics like vaccines, drugs and pharmaceuticals and health equipment.

Only six of the 30 members attended the meeting.

Committee chairman Jairam Ramesh had written to Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu thrice in the last three months requesting that the panel be allowed to meet virtually, given the restrictions on movement due to the pandemic.

The Covaxine’s August 15 timeline was mentioned in a letter that ICMR director general Balram Bhargava wrote to the 12 hospitals selected for carrying out clinical trials, a candidate vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech in partnership with Pune-based National Institute of Virology, an ICMR laboratory.

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