India determined to launch Covid-19 vaccine despite warnings from experts

New Delhi, Jul 3 (efe-epa).- The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has announced the acceleration of human clinical trials of a Covid-19 vaccine despite criticism from experts.

The ICMR said in an open letter on Thursday that tests are “a priority project that is being monitored at the highest government level”.

IMCR director Balram Bhargava wrote: “The vaccine is expected to be released for public health use no later than August 15, 2020, after the completion of all clinical trials.”

He added that the “end result will depend on the cooperation of all the clinical sites involved”.

The 15 August is a national holiday in India celebrating its independence from the British Empire in 1947.

The Drug Controller General of India on Monday gave the green light for human trials of the vaccine, which will start this month.

Covaxin is the first potential Covid-19 inoculation developed by an Indian laboratory to receive authorization for human testing and is an inactivated vaccine created from the isolation of the Sars-Cov-2 strain.

The ICMR urged centers to speed up the approval procedures related to clinical trials and ensure that the registration of volunteers for the trials takes place no later than 7 July.

India has been the fourth-worst affected country by the outbreak with more than 625,500 confirmed cases and 18,200 deaths.

Ashok Kumar, director of the Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association, said: “These are pandemic times. We are not looking at normal timelines to deal with.”

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