New Delhi,  July 3:

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) have come together to step up efforts for a possible vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

Bharat Biotech and ICMR could now launch the indigenous vaccine Covaxin by August 15 for the public.

ICMR expects to launch the Covid vaccine by August 15 after completion of clinical trials. To step up these efforts, ICMR has written to all stockholders to treat it as top priority.

ICMR has developed the indigenous Covid-19 vaccine (BBV152 COVID vaccine) partnered with BBIL. The ICMR has selected 12 institutes for clinical trial of the country’s first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine, an official had said on Thursday.

In a letter to the selected institute where the clinical trial is to be done, the ICMR also informed that it is envisaged to launch the vaccine for public health use latest by August 15, 2020 after completion of all clinical trials.

The 12 institutes have been asked by the ICMR to fast track clinical trials of the vaccine as it is being considered as one of the top priority projects which are being monitored at the topmost level of the government.

BBIL is working expeditiously to meet the target, however, the final outcome will depend on the cooperation of all clinical trial sites involved in this project, the ICMR told the selected institutes.

Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech successfully developed Covaxin in collaboration with the ICMR and National Institute of Virology (NIV). The SARS-CoV-2 strain was isolated in NIV, Pune and transferred to Bharat Biotech.

The indigenous, inactivated vaccine was developed and manufactured in Bharat Biotech’s BSL-3 (Bio-Safety Level 3) High Containment facility located in Genome Valley, Hyderabad, India.

The Drug Controller General of India- Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare had granted permission to initiate Phase I & II Human clinical trials after the company submitted results generated from preclinical studies, demonstrating safety and immune response.