'Aug 15 for COVID-19 vaccine launch unfeasible'

New Delhi, July 6 (PTI): The Indian Academy of Sciences, a Bengaluru-based body of scientists, has said the Indian Council for Medical Research's  target to launch a coronavirus vaccine by August 15 is "unfeasible" and "unrealistic".


The IASc said while there is an unquestioned urgent need, vaccine development for use in humans requires scientifically executed clinical trials in a phased manner.


While administrative approvals can be expedited, the "scientific processes of experimentation and data collection have a natural time span that cannot be hastened without compromising standards of scientific rigour", the IASc said in a statement.


In its statement, the IASc referred to the ICMR's letter which states that "it is envisaged to launch the vaccine for public health use latest by 15th August 2020 after completion of all clinical trials".


The ICMR and Bharat Biotech India Limited, a private pharmaceutical company, are jointly developing the vaccine against the novel coronavirus -- SARS-CoV-2.


The IASc welcomes the exciting development of a candidate vaccine and wishes that the vaccine is quickly made available for public use, the statement said.


"However, as a body of scientists -- including many who are engaged in vaccine development -- IASc strongly believes that the announced timeline is unfeasible. This timeline has raised unrealistic hope and expectations in the minds of our citizens," it said.


Experts have also cautioned against rushing the process for developing a COVID-19 vaccine and stressed that it is not in accordance with the globally accepted norms to fast-track vaccine development for diseases of pandemic potential.