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India 'pharmacy of the world', on fast-track mode to develop COVID-19 vaccine: ICMR

Dr Bhargava said --i.e. 60 per cent of the vaccines (like Rubella, measles, polio) supplied in the world, whether it be Africa, Europe, South East Asia or anywhere are of Indian origin.

Published: 14th July 2020 07:58 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th July 2020 08:43 PM   |  A+A-

ICMR DG

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) DG Dr Balram Bhargava addresses a press conference in New Delhi Tuesday. (Photo | PTI)

By ANI

NEW DELHI: India is considered as the "pharmacy of the world". About 60 per cent of the drugs uitilised in the United States of America are of Indian origin. So, these are generic drugs produced in India where the country has established itself over the years. This is possibly well known to many people in the world, said (Prof) Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Highlighting an important fact that is not known about Indian vaccines and drugs, Dr Bhargava said --i.e. 60 per cent of the vaccines (like Rubella, measles, polio) supplied in the world, whether it be Africa, Europe, South East Asia or anywhere are of Indian origin.

So, India is perceived as an important player in vaccines for supply for the world, he said.

"Any vaccine candidate which is being produced or developed in any part of the world will ultimately have to be scaled up by India or by China. Because these two countries are major producers of vaccines in the world and India supplies 60 per cent of vaccines to the world that all developed nations are aware of it. And therefore, they are in communication with India for the vaccine distribution ultimately, if it is developed to the whole world," Bhargava said.

As far as coronavirus pandemic is concerned, the top scientist of the apex medical research body said that in India's perspective, the country have two indigenous candidate vaccines which scientists are trying their best to fast-track it as their morale duty so that there should not be a delay of a single day for regulatory clearances for these vaccines to break the transmission of the virus as soon as possible.

ALSO READ: National COVID-19 fatality rate is 2.6 per cent and it is coming down rapidly, says Health Ministry

"There are two indigenous candidate vaccines and they have gone successful toxicity studies in rats, mice and rabbits. These data were submitted to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) following which both these candidate vaccines got clearance to start the early phase of human trials," informed ICMR Director-General.

Recently, ANI reported that DCGI has given its permission to pharma giant Zydus Cadila and Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL), who has partnered with ICMR to conduct phase I/II clinical trials on humans for COVID -19 vaccine.

"Now, they have got their sites ready and they are doing the clinical study approximately on 1,000 volunteers each at different sites. They are trying to do early clinical testing for these two candidate vaccines. There are pre-clinical experiments as well for other vaccines being done at National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune. Experts are working day and night to do these experiments and it is their moral duty to develop vaccines as fast as possible as more than half a million people have succumbed to COVID-19 across the world. So "fast-tracking" the development of COVID vaccines is more important," said Dr Bhargava.

"Recently, Russia has fast-tracked a vaccine which has been successful and it is in early phases and they have fast-tracked its development. And the world has applauded it and congratulated them. China has fast-tracked its vaccine programme. Meanwhile, the US and UK are looking for ways to fast track its vaccine development for human use," added Bhargava. 

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