ICMR defends move to fast-track vaccine

New Delhi: After medical experts cautioned against rushing a COVID-19 vaccine, the ICMR on Saturday defended its move to fast-track clinical trials for a planned launch by August 15, saying the process was exactly in accordance with globally accepted norms.
The premier medical research body said the letter by its Director General Dr Balram Bhargava to principal investigators of the clinical trial sites was meant to cut unnecessary red tape, without bypassing any necessary process, and speed up recruitment of participants.
“Trials will be done following the best practices and rigour,” the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) said in statement, seeking to address concerns voiced by several experts who said the timeline set by the research body may not be realistic.
“ICMR’s process is exactly in accordance with the globally accepted norms to fast-track the vaccine development for diseases of pandemic potential wherein human and animal trials can continue in parallel,” the statement said.
The statement further said that in the larger public health interest, it is important for the ICMR to expedite the clinical trials with a promising indigenous vaccine, adding it is committed to treat the safety and interest of people of India as a topmost priority. (PTI)

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