The ministry of health and the Indian Council of Medical Research have despatched an astounding letter to “Dear colleagues” to “envisage ” public health use of the Indian vaccine no later than 15th August 2020, “after completion of all clinical trials.” The letter goes on to warn the recipients that “non-compliance will be viewed very seriously.” Obviously all science has been thrown to the winds on demanding a vaccine for public health use latest by 15th August 2020. The tenor of the letter is more in the realm of extortion than scientific communication.
A vaccine like any new drug mandates 3 phases of clinical trials ; phase 1 to assess safety, phase 2 to check efficacy and then a phase 3 trial in tens of thousands of participants to check for both safety and efficacy. The 3 phases just CANNOT be done in 5-6 weeks.
The health secretary could be pardoned because he obviously has no idea of vaccines or clinical trials, but for the director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research to pen such a letter is laughable.
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