COVID-19 vaccine development moving positively, next one month crucial: Bharat Biotech


New Delhi: The COVID-19 vaccine development is moving in a positive direction, next one month is very crucial, said Dr Krishna Mohan Ella, Chief Executive Officer of Bharat Biotech. The company has formed a collaborative framework with the University of Wisconsin, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Thomas Jefferson University of Philadelphia to develop a vaccine for Covid-19.

Talking to IANS, Mohan said: “The vaccine development is moving in a positive direction. The next one month is very crucial. I am a scientist and I believe in science.”

Queried on Bharat Biotech’s plans on vaccine production against the backdrop of the statement by The Serum Institute of India, which said it plans to produce 60 million doses of a potential Covid-19 vaccine by year-end, Ella insisted he is a scientist and the company is working very hard on the development of the vaccine.

He expressed satisfaction on the progress of the research connected with vaccine development so far, but insisted “in science, things can change”. “If things were not to be moving positively, I would not be talking to you… we are at a very crucial stage, cannot comment on the number of doses (like The Serum Institute) etc,” Mohan added.

According to the ICMR, the human trials could begin in at least 6 months. Queried on the beginning of human trials of the vaccine, Mohan said: “Let us go by science. I cannot comment on the beginning of the human trials.”

“We are working very hard on the vaccine, which will benefit the people,” he added.

Noting that the global media is watching the vaccine development very closely, Mohan refrained from making any comment on the progress made so far and any specific goals set for the next month.

India witnessed 8,390 cases in 24 hours on the second consecutive day. The total case count of coronavirus disease mounted to 1,90,535 on Monday. India has emerged as the 7th worst Covid-hit country globally, leaving behind France and Germany. There are at least 93,322 active cases while 91,819 people have been cured. Recovery rate in the country is 48.19 per cent now, while the death rate docked at 2.83 per cent.

In May, Mohan said Bharat Biotech is collaborating with the Thomas Jefferson University towards developing a new vaccine for Covid-19 using an inactivated rabies vector platform. He added that the basic proof of concept has been established while using it for other pandemic infectious diseases.

Mohan said the company is committed to global public health and will be involved in an end to end development of the vaccine including comprehensive clinical trials to achieve a commercial license.

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