On Monday, Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan launched the ICMR’s vaccine web portal, which will provide information related to the COVID-19 vaccine development in India and abroad. (See here)
Vardhan said, “Research to develop a vaccine is being done expeditiously. There are at least three viable such vaccine candidates that are in the phase of clinical trials right now in the country. We’re hopeful that within 1st quarter of 2021 it will be available”, ANI quoted.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in August said the COVID-19 vaccine would reach every Indian. His government, however, is yet to announce any plans of buying vaccines from the companies that are manufacturing them, the Economic Times noted.
Modi has said a “road map for its (vaccine’s) production and distribution among Indians is also ready.”
On Saturday, Adar Poonawalla, Chief Executive Officer of Serum Institute of India (SII), which is producing five potential coronavirus vaccines, including the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, asked on Twitter if the government would have Rs 80,000 crore available over 2021 to buy and distribute the vaccine.
SII, a private Indian company, is the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world.
I ask this question, because we need to plan and guide, vaccine manufacturers both in India and overseas to service the needs of our country in terms of procurement and distribution.— Adar Poonawalla (@adarpoonawalla) September 26, 2020
This is the next “challenge” we need to tackle, he said, also tagging the prime minister’s office.
His comment was challenged by Ashwini Mahajan, national co-convenor of the RSS-affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch. RSS is the ruling BJP’s ideological parent organisation.
May it be known to you @adarpoonawalla that India’s Patent Act has a section on Compulsory Licensing and we can force you and your peers to produce vaccine free from exploitative royalty. https://t.co/Q8hlbWqpic— ASHWANI MAHAJAN (@ashwani_mahajan) September 27,...