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India announces Rs 900 crore for COVID-19 vaccine research

Nirmala Sitharaman press conference: The minister said that the Rs 900 crore funding to the Department of Biotechnology will be for research purposes only

Anwesha Madhukalya | November 12, 2020 | Updated 15:22 IST
India announces Rs 900 crore for COVID-19 vaccine research
Coronavirus vaccine in India: Govt grants Rs 900 crore for R&D

Finance Minister Nirmala announced Rs 900 crore funding for vaccine research in the country. The minister clarified the funding will only be for research and development of COVID-19 vaccine. "Rs 900 crore provided for COVID Suraksha Mission for research and development of the Indian COVID vaccine to the Department of Biotechnology," said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The Rs 900 crore funding is part of the Rs 2.65 lakh crore Atmanirbhar Bharat 3.0 stimulus.

India already has multiple vaccine candidates in the works and multiple coronavirus vaccine trials are underway. The R&D funding announcement comes after PM Modi held a review meeting to assess the progress of research in the ecosystem and said that the solution has to be cost-effective. The meeting was attended by Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, NITI Aayog members, senior scientists and other officials. 

On Thursday, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus lauded India's role in vaccine production. "Namaste, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for a very productive call on how to strengthen our collaboration & advance access to knowledge, research and training in traditional medicine globally. WHO welcomes India's leading role in global health, and to universal health coverage," he said. Ghebreyesus said he thanked the PM for his strong commitment to COVAX and making COVID-19 vaccines a global public good. "The pandemic is an unprecedented challenge for the world, and we agreed to work shoulder to shoulder to end it," he added.

There are three vaccine under trial in India including AstraZeneca-Oxford University's candidate and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin. Covaxin has been developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Reports from its second phase are expected soon.

Also read: Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana launched to create jobs

Also read: Govt announces credit guarantee scheme for healthcare, 26 stressed sectors

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