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India heading towards becoming vaccine super-power: DG ICMR

ICMR Director General hailed the 96 per cent nationwide Covid-19 vaccination coverage of the first dose

Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Dr Balram Bhargava on Thursday hailed the 96 per cent nationwide Covid-19 vaccination coverage of the first dose and said that India is heading towards becoming a vaccine super-power.

The Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine is under phase 3 of clinical trials in India. This vaccine is expected to be of use in future for the treatment of other diseases as well. Addressing a press briefing, Dr Bhargava said, "India is heading towards becoming a vaccine superpower. The fact is that these vaccines are going to be available for other diseases."

"Because such a large proportion of our population has been vaccinated, we are not seeing such a disastrous third surge in terms of hospitalisations and mortality that protection has been provided by the extreme 96 per cent vaccine coverage first dose and that I think is a major strength of the nation," he added.

Highlighting the importance of the mRNA vaccine, Dr V K Paul, Member-Health, Niti Aayog said, "We need the mRNA platform because it's the new platform. It has been shown that vaccines developed on this platform, at least for coronavirus, have been effective worldwide."

"This platform of vaccine is an asset today in wake of COVID, Omicron. But also beyond it for other diseases for which the vaccines have been eluding us; it could be malaria, dengue or TB, there are so many diseases for which we are still hunting for affordable and effective lasting vaccines," he added.

Praising the Pune based company Gennova Biopharmaceuticals, Dr Paul said, "We treasure this platform and we compliment the company and group that have gone into it so as a platform, it will continue to be important in the medium term or near future and beyond as an option in the fight for SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. It remains relevant just as other so many vaccines are relevant in the world."

Gennova Biopharmaceuticals has submitted phase 2 data of mRNA vaccine and has also completed recruitment for phase 3.

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