BENGALURU: Prof MV Padma Srivastava, the newly appointed Director, National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences (Nimhans), is a volunteer in the Phase III of the clinical trial of Covaxin – country’s first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine. It is being developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) National Institute of Virology, Pune.
Covaxin has run into controversy after experts and the Opposition have raised doubts over the restricted use approval given by the drug regulator despite no efficacy data from Phase III trials. However, the newly appointed Director of Nimhans said she was proud to be a part of the process.
“These are unprecedented and extraordinary times, which call for extraordinary measures. Many a time we need to walk the tightrope of fine balancing the act of timelines and race against time. I felt proud to be a part of the Phase III trial of Covaxin being conducted at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in collaboration with the ICMR. It is a product by India, for India and of India,” said Prof Padma in her first interview after being posted as Director, Nimhans.
She had volunteered and had already received both the shots of Covaxin. “Questions abound regarding the safety and efficacy of these vaccines. But to answer these very relevant questions we need to be a part of the process of evolution, which provides these answers,” she said.
Prof Padma will assume office on February 1. “It is an honour to be appointed as Director of Nimhans, an apex institute in neurosciences in the country,” she said. Earlier, she was the head of neurology, AIIMS.
She said that she is the first “outsider” to be occupying the Director’s post. “I am not a product of Nimhans but I have been involved as a member of the Academic Committee and the Standing Selection Committee of the institute,” she said.