New Delhi: After facing flak from both Opposition and medical experts over August 15 deadline for India’s first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Saturday issued a clarification, asserting that it is committed to treat the safety and interest of people of India as a topmost priority. Defending its move, the ICMR said that it is important for ICMR to expedite the clinical trials with a promising indigenous vaccine in the larger public health interest. Also Read - Odisha Lockdown: COVID-19 Patients Can Now be Admitted to Private Hospitals For Treatment

Furthermore, the medical body said that its process is exactly in accordance with globally accepted norms to fast-track the vaccine development for diseases of pandemic potential wherein human and animal trials can continue in parallel. Also Read - IPL 2020: From Cheerleaders to WAGS, Things You Will Not See During T20 Tournament in UAE Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

“Just as red tape was not allowed to become a hindrance in the fast-track approval of new indigenous testing kits or for introducing in the Indian market potential COVID-19 related drugs, the indigenous vaccine development process has also been sought to be insulated from slow file movement,” the statement issued by the ICMR read. Also Read - COVID-19 Vaccine to Cost Less Than Rs 250 Per Dose: Serum Institute

It added,”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.”

Read ICMR’s Full Statement Here: 

It is expected that India’s first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin may be released on August 15 under a fast-track mechanism. According to the government’s top medical research body, a dozen institutes have been selected for clinical trials of the indigenous COVID-19 vaccine (BBV152 COVID vaccine).