The Union Health Ministry said that the August 15 deadline for an indigenous COVID-19 vaccine is "only to expedite duly approved clinical trials without compromising on safety and security concerns."
Rajesh Bhushan, Officer on Special Duty, Health Ministry said, "Please don't read something which is not there in DG-ICMR letter. The letter's intent is only to expedite duly approved clinical trials without compromising on safety and security concerns."
Earlier, ICMR DG Balram Bhargava wrote a letter to Bharat Biotech and principal investigators of medical colleges to complete the trial procedure of indigenous COVID-19 vaccine in a fast-track method so that results of a clinical trial can be launched by August 15.
Mr Bhushan said that DCGI has permitted two vaccines to go in for phase 1 and 2 of clinical trials.
"Bharat Biotech and Cadila Healthcare are developing vaccines. Both vaccines completed animal toxicity studies after approval. DCGI has permitted these two vaccines to go in for phase 1 and 2 clinical trials. Trials are yet to begin. Hope it begins soon," he said.
Bharat Biotech had recently received a nod for a clinical trial of its vaccine - Covaxin. A total of 12 institutes have been asked by the ICMR to fast track clinical trials of the vaccine as it is being considered the topmost priority projects which are being monitored by the government.