Govt sets up task force to explore scientific frontiers against Covid

New Delhi:  The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) today said it was closely tracking the progress of five Covid-19 vaccine projects that have successfully completed the animal trial phase entering human trial stage.

ICMR chief epidemiologist Raman Gangakhedkar said out of 70 ongoing vaccine development projects globally, five have progressed well so far. “Even if one of these matures, it will be beneficial to all. We are tracking the progress of five trials that have entered the human trial phase. One of these vaccine projects is ChAdOX1,” ICMR official said.

Meanwhile, the government today formed a national task force to consolidate India’s scientific efforts against Covid-19. Member, Health, NITI Aayog VK Paul and Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister, will co-chair the taskforce.

The government also named Department of Biotechnology as the central coordination agency to identify pathways for Covid-19 vaccine development and maintain a dynamic list of projects underway for vaccine discovery so that India can follow its progress while working domestically on options.

“Clinical cohorts will also be developed to focus on long-term follow-up of Covid-19 patients even after they have recovered. The Ministry will also collect bio-specimens that will help researchers with drug and vaccine development work. This collection will be through a process separate than the sample testing process which is currently under way,” the Ministry said.

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