oppn parties Shortcuts Will Not Work In Developing A Vaccine For Coronavirus

News Snippets

  • India conducts a record 6.4 lakh coronavirus tests in a single day on Friday, 31st August
  • Fresh Covid cases top 57000 in India on Friday. More than 11 lakh cases reported in July
  • The US says that China's incursions in several countries were to see the world's reaction
  • The scheme calling for local manufacturing of mobile phones receives applications from Apple vendors like Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron, along with Samsung and some Indian players
  • The Enforcement Directorate has started an investigation into money laundering in the Sushant Singh Rajput case after reports of missing funds from his accounts and the FIR in Patna
  • 38 persons were killed after consuming spurious liquor in Punjab's Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Gurdaspur districts
  • Mehbooba Mufti to spend three more months in detention as the J&K administration extends its order under the Public Safety Act
  • The J&K administration has released Sajad Lone, the chairman of J&K People's Conference after about a year in detention
  • The defence ministry has written to the CBFC to say that web series on the army must seek approval without knowing that the CBFC has no mandate to regulate such content
  • Google and Facebook will now have to pay to carry news from mainstream media in Australia, the first country to enact such a legislation
  • Centre says herd immunity cannot be a strategic option for a country with a huge population density like India
  • Sushant Singh Rajput's father and the Bihar government move the SC in order to prevent his ex-girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty from getting the case transferred from Patna to Mumbai
  • ED seeks a copy of the FIR from Bihar police as rumours float about a Rs 15-crore illegal transaction in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case
  • Several Western Naval Command officers, including a captain, booked by the CBI in a Rs 7-crore fraud case
  • Hardik Shah, a 2010-batch IAS officer, is to be the next private secretary to the Prime Minister
Home Minister Amit Shah tests Covid+, admitted to hospital. He had attended a cabinet meeting on Wednesday
oppn parties
Shortcuts Will Not Work In Developing A Vaccine For Coronavirus

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2020-07-06 18:09:56

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

Vaccines are used to prevent infections. Hence, their effectiveness has to be scientifically proven as per admissible norms before they are launched in the market for the use of the general public. However strong and urgent be the health scare for which the vaccine is being developed, the due process cannot be bypassed to launch a product that has not been stringently tested and approved for its efficacy in preventing the infection.

Hence, the ICMR directive to Bharat Biotech to "speed-up" clinical trials of the vaccine, that they are jointly developing as a "top priority project", so that it can be launched within August 15 must be condemned. Clinical trials cannot be sped up. There are thousands of things involved and continuous feedbacks and monitoring of patients administered with the vaccine during such trials take time. In any case, no vaccine or drug can be safely launched before successful clinical trials on a given set of individuals (a small number in Phase 1 and then a much larger number in Phase 2) over a given period of time. The results, such as the development of antibodies in the recipients, are closely monitored by scientists. It is not a process that submits itself to pre-set deadlines. Even the identification, selection and getting volunteers are time consuming processes.

The bureaucracy in India must not try to undermine scientific norms just to please their political masters. In fact, since they are supposed to be subject-experts (as Dr. Balram Bhargava, director-general of ICMR is), they must make the political leadership aware of the pitfalls involved in rushing things. There is no doubt that a vaccine, when developed, would be a huge relief to the entire humanity. But if due process is not followed and a dud vaccine is launched, India will become the laughing stock of the world. Hence, instead of setting deadlines, ICMR should insist on getting things done in the most scientific way following all global norms. Shortcuts will be self-defeating.