India sets up high-level task force to develop vaccine for coronavirus; to co-ordinate with global researchers

Department of Biotechnology (DBT) will be central coordinating authority of the task force; its main focus will be to set up a process for coronavirus vaccine development

India has formed a high level task force to research on coronavirus and develop a vaccine. The task force will also coordinate with international community on  vaccine development process for coronavirus.

The task force will be co-chaired by Member, Niti Aayog, and Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, Professor K VijayRaghavan. AYUSH, ICMR, Department of Science and Technology (DST), Department of Biotechnology (DBT), CSIR, DRDO, DG-Health Services, and Drug Controller General of India are also members of the task force, said Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare at a press briefing today.

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He said the task force has Department of Biotechnology (DBT) as central coordinating authority. Its main focus will be to set up a process for vaccine development. The task force will make a list of national and international organisations working on vaccine development. DBT will monitor the progess of  research works and also facilitate the process.

About 70 clinical trials are taking place over the world to find a vaccine for coronavirus. At least five have entered the human trial stage. Indian companies, including the Serum Institute, Zydus Cadila, Bharat Biotech and Biological E are also working on the vaccine, but they are in preclinical stage.

The task force will create clinical cohorts focussing on long term follow-up of people for better understanding of the disease. It will also collect bio-specimens which will form the basis for further trials of drugs and vaccines. This will be different from sample testing protocols, said the Joint Secretary.

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A total of 3,86,791 coronavirus tests have been done till yesterday and out of these, 37,173 tests were performed yesterday itself.

India has 16,116 patients as on date with 519 deaths. Of the infected, 2,301 people have recovered. In the last 24 hours, 1,006 new cases and 31 deaths have been reported.

INDIA CORONAVIRUS TRACKER: BusinessToday.In brings you a daily tracker as coronavirus cases continue to spread. Here is the state-wise data on total cases, fatalities and recoveries in one comprehensive graphic:

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