New task force to monitor COVID-19 vaccine development: Centre

The task force is expected to help the Centre support and monitor the national and international efforts in vaccine development

COVID-19
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said 800,000 doses will arrive next week, with millions coming in the following weeks | Representative Photo: iStock

A high-level task force, jointly headed by Member (Health), NITI Aayog and Principal Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister, has been formed to monitor the issues related to COVID-19 vaccine development, the Union health ministry said.

“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 on Sunday (April 19).

“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.

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The Central government said that the Department of Biotechnology will be the prime agency to take up the task of finding a vaccine against coronavirus, however, their efforts will be focussed towards identifying pathways for vaccine development.

The task force is expected to help the Centre support and monitor the national and international efforts in vaccine development.

On Saturday, the Indian Council Medical Research’s (ICMR) proposal for starting the clinical trials of convalescent plasma in COVID-19 patients, as per the protocol developed by the apex medical body was given a green signal by the central drug regulator.

During its daily briefings, the government said India has over 15,700 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and about 14.19 per cent of total cases – 2231 people – have been cured.

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