With confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide surpassing 13 million with no sign of it slowing down, scientists are pushing forward with efforts to find and develop vaccines and treatments to slow down the pandemic and lessen the virus’ effects. It is estimated that some of the earliest treatments will likely be drugs that are already approved for other conditions and have been tested on other viruses. Many groups across the world are also working on potential COVID-19 vaccines with several also backed by the nonprofit Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). Currently there are more than 150 projects around the world centred on the development of COVID-19 vaccine. According to a WHO summary of the state of vaccine development for COVID-19, there are 23 potential vaccines in human trials, with three of them in or starting large-scale late stage, or Phase III, trials to test efficacy.
More recently, vaccine development and discussion came into limelight after a letter by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) was circulated widely which set August 15 as a deadline for vaccine to be rolled out. While ICMR later clarified that the letter was internal and was aimed at bypassing the “red tape” surrounding vaccine research, lot of experts and ethicists raised concerns on this.
In this episode, Suno India editor Padma Priya spoke with Dr Shahid Jameel, the Chief Executive Officer of the DBT Wellcome Trust India Alliance, which is a biomedical research charity which funds research at not for profit institutions in India.