‘’Whoever develops the vaccine first, India or China will have to scale it up,’’ says ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava After the August 15 deadline set by Balram Bhargava, director general of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), for a Covid-19 vaccine turned controversial, the man at the centre of it all is looking at more realistic targets. Bhargava, during an interview, says he is hopeful of a vaccine by the end of this year or early next year.
Hitting out at his critics for the ambitious deadline, he’s emphatic that it is the country’s moral duty to fast-track the vaccine without compromising on science and ethics. Optimistic on plasma therapy research and indigenous candidate vaccines, he calls India the pharmacy of the world. ‘’Whoever develops the vaccine first, India or China will have to scale it up,’’ Bhargava points out.
“As we are keen to get a breakthrough as soon as possible, this doesn't mean that best of India’s medical professionals and research scientists should be second-guessed for their professionalism or adherence to the highest scientific rigour,’’ the ICMR chief says.