The centre has formed a high-level task force to track and monitor the work being carried out to develop vaccine against COVID-19, which has killed over 500 people in the country.
“This Task Force will expedite coordination of work done by all ministries on the issue related to vaccine development. This will further enable to speed up the research work carried out through international efforts by academia and research institutions,” the government said in a statement.
The panel will be jointly led by Member (Health), NITI Aayog and Principal Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister.
“Apart from this, other members are representatives from AYUSH, ICMR, Department of Science and Technology, Biotechnology, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), DRDO, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) and Drug Controller General of India (DCGI),” the statement added.
The centre in the statement clarified that the Department of Biotechnology will remain the nodal agency for vaccine development. “Their efforts will be focussed towards identifying pathways for vaccine development,” it said.
The task force will help the government further facilitate, keep track of and monitor the national and international efforts in vaccine development.
The central drug regulator on Saturday gave its go-ahead to a proposal by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for the clinical trial of convalescent plasma in COVID-19 patients, as per the protocol developed by the top medical body.
India has over 15,700 confirmed cases of COVID-19. As many as 2231 people – which is 14.19 per cent of the total cases – have been cured, the centre said.