The Jana Vignana Vedika (JVV) Telangana State Committee on Thursday criticised the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for reportedly writing on July 2 to Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) and 12 hospitals in connection with launching a COVID-19 vaccine for public use by August 15, which corresponds to Independence Day.

‘Grandstand or science’

“A desire to grandstand and please the political masters seems to have overtaken science and ethics within ICMR. All India People’s Science Network deplores the emerging trend in India of short-circuiting established protocols for trials of COVID vaccines and treatment drugs,” an excerpt of the letter signed by JVV general secretary R. Varaprasad reads.

Animal trials underway

The letter reiterated that BBIL has developed a BBV152 COVID vaccine candidate and got approvals for Phase I and II trials on June 29 from Central Drugs and Standard Control Organisation as “part of the fast-tracking of the process even while pre-clinical animal trials are still underway”.

“According to the submission of BBIL with the Clinical Trials Registry of India (CTRI), also under ICMR, the enrolment for Phase 1 was to begin from July 13 and the duration of the trial covering all the three stages was to be 15 months. Twelve hospitals with widely varying track-record and experience in vaccine trials have been selected for the purpose by ICMR in an entirely arbitrary and non-transparent manner,” the letter claimed.

With this as the backdrop, the Jana Vignana Vedika (JVV) has demanded that due process of scientific trials for all coronavirus candidate vaccines be followed in a transparent manner, and corporate greed and false national pride be discouraged.

People before profit

The body also demanded globally coordinated efforts, putting people before profits, to make the drugs or vaccine and said that those who have developed BBV152 COVID vaccine candidate, their efforts should not be wasted due to ‘political pressures’ and all due processes be followed.

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