ICMR banks on Bharat Biotech expertise to develop COVID-19 vaccine in India


Following the news that Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and India-based Bharat Biotech have partnered to develop an indigenous COVID-19 vaccine;  

Anupama, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view: 


“ICMR selected Bharat Biotech due to its expertise in indigenous vaccine development. COVID-19 virus isolate obtained from ICMR’s National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune has been transferred to Bharat Biotech for vaccine’s research and development. In October 2013, Bharat Biotech had developed a vaccine for the Japanese encephalitis. 


“Notably, ICMR is the apex medical body for COVID-19 management guidelines in India while NIV is the pivotal diagnostic center for COVID-19 tests in India. NIV is also responsible for the validation and approval of COVID-19 testing kits in India. Hence, the virus isolate obtained from NIV will be of significant importance to Bharat Biotech.  


“According to the GlobalData COVID-19 dashboard, as of 11 May 2020, India has 67,259 confirmed cases and the dashboard forecasts 213,993 confirmed cases in India in a low transmission risk scenario by 21 May 2020.  


“GlobalData research reveals that there are eight Indian organizations (including University of Hyderabad) working on COVID-19 vaccine development. Cadila Pharmaceuticals is the leading Indian company in the COVID-19 vaccine development race with Phase I trial in progress. 


“As per Bharat Biotech, COVID-19 vaccine development will take at least six months to one year. ICMR and Bharat Biotech seek fast-track regulatory approval for animal studies and clinical trial evaluation in order to expedite the vaccine development process. 


“Indian government, private sector and academic institutions are working in battle mode to develop indigenous, efficacious and economical solutions to fight COVID-19. The collaboration between ICMR and Bharat Biotech for vaccine development is a remarkable steppingstone towards successfully combating the COVID-19 outbreak in India.”