New Delhi: The vaccine for COVID-19 can be expected only by early next year, a parliamentary panel was informed on Friday. The House panel of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Climate heard presentations by the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Biotechnology, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the principal scientific adviser to the government on Centre's preparedness for COVID-19.
Sources said that the panel was informed that a COVID-19 vaccine could be available only by early next year. The panel which is chaired by senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, saw six other members in attendence for the meeting.
This was the first meeting of the panel since the country wide lockdown to curb the novel coronavirus outbreak was imposed on March 25.
Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on microblogging site Twitter, expressed his happiness at the resumption of the parliamentary committee meeting and lamented on the delay claiming it was forced by circumstances beyond control.
Naidu said everyone was keen on resumption of work by these committees, "but the delay was forced by circumstances beyond our control".
Urging Naidu to hold the meetings virtually, Ramesh, in a tweet said, "I would still request you Sir to allow virtual meetings given that Parliament is unlikely to meet for the next month at least."
The sources said the other members present at the meet also sought virtual deliberations.
A detailed discussion was held at the meeting over the government's preparedness and handling of COVID-19.
"Our Parliamentary Standing Committee is having a most informative and useful meeting with @DBTIndia @IndiaDST @CSIR_IND & @PrinSciAdvGoI on the issue of Science & Technology & COVID-19. Too bad we are not allowed to have virtual meetings so that more MPs could have participated," Ramesh wrote on Twitter.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs is scheduled to meet on July 15.
On July 2, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in a statement had announced that it would partner with Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) to fast-track clinical trials of the indigenous COVID-19 vaccine (BBV152 COVID Vaccine).
In an official statement, ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava stated that ICMR aims to launch the indigenous COVID-19 vaccine by August 15.