As soon as the Parliamentary standing committees started to resume work after a long spell of hibernation, it was not all good news that came in front of them. Notwithstanding the ambitious target set for its market launch, the Standing Committee on Science and Technology was told on Friday that India will have to wait till at least the first quarter of 2021 to get its vaccine that can treat Covid-19.
Officials cautioned that this is the earliest possible time frame when India can practically have its vaccine.
Professor Krishnaswamy Vijay Raghavan, who is the government's Principal Scientific Advisor, was present in the committee meeting along with representatives from thee Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Biotechnology.
Interestingly, this development comes closely on the heels of India's foremost medical research body, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), in a letter dated July 3, setting a target to get the vaccine ready by August 15. However, faced with criticism for putting unrealistic pressure, it later clarified saying it was "meant to cut unnecessary red tape, without bypassing any necessary process, and speed up recruitment of participants".
Senior officials told the Parliamentary committee led by Congress MP Jairam Ramesh on Friday that they are hopeful and optimistic about India's chances of inventing the vaccine that will be able to treat the deadly Covid-19.
During the proceedings of the committee, certain members were believed to have raised specific questions about recent claims made by yoga guru Ramdev who launched Coronil, claiming it can treat coronavirus, only to retract later.
Meanwhile, researchers in India are all set to start human trials of India's first indigenous coronavirus vaccine candidate - COVAXIN.