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Govt forms high-level task force to enable COVID-19 vaccine development

A high-level task force, co-chaired by NITI AAYOG member and Principal Scientific Adviser, has been formed to enable COVID-19 related research and vaccine development.

Apr 20, 2020 18:10 IST
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The Government formed a high-level task force for COVID-19 related research in the fields of science and vaccine development on April 19, 2020. The task-force will be co-chaired by NITI Aayog member and Principal Scientific Adviser to the government.
 
This was announced by Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Luv Aggarwal during the daily media briefing on COVID-19 situation in India.

Task Force Composition

Chairperson: Member, NITI Aayog; Principal Scientific Adviser

Members: ICMR, AYUSH, CSIR, DRDO, Department of Biotechnology (DBT), DG-Health Services, Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Drug Controller General of India.

Objective 

The key objective of the task force will be to enable COVID-19 related research by academia, industry and international community.

Key Highlights 

The Task Force has appointed the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) as a central coordinating authority for vaccine development. 

To identify a pathway for vaccine development, the Department of Biotechnology will first have to create a dynamic list of national and international organisations working on COVID-19 vaccine development.

The DBT will then have to monitor their progress and enable coordination at the government level. 

Besides this, there will also focus on long term follow-up of COVID-19 patients for a better understanding of the disease and its management will be worked upon.

Bio-specimens of the COVID-19 patients will also be collected that will form the basis for further trials of drugs and vaccines. It will be different from the sample testing protocol.

Background 

As stated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, some relaxations in lockdown measures were announced from April 20, 2020 in the non-hotspot areas. The total number of coronavirus cases in the nation stand at 17,265 as of April 20, which includes 2,547 recoveries and 543 deaths. 

According to Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health, Luv Aggarwal, 10 new districts have been added to the list of districts that have had no COVID-19 positive case in the last 14 days, taking the total number of such districts to 54. 

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