Indian PM holds review meeting of COVID-19 research, vaccine development

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Photo: Agencies)

NEW DELHI - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday held a review meeting of the research and vaccine deployment ecosystem against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.

Modi took stock of health ministry's comprehensive distribution and delivery mechanism for vaccines, which includes mechanisms for adequate procurement, and technologies for bulk-stockpiling, filling vials for distribution and ensuring effective delivery.

"The Prime Minister directed that both sero-surveys and testing must be scaled up. He said that the facility to get tested regularly, speedily and inexpensively must be available to all at the earliest," a statement issued by Prime Minister's Office said.

The meeting was attended by federal health minister Harsh Vardhan, member (health) of government's top policy think tank - National Institution for Transforming India (NITI ) Aayog (commission), principal scientific advisor, senior scientists and other officials.

The prime minister said his government would provide full support towards the development of the vaccines.

"The Prime Minister also underscored the need for continuous and rigorous scientific testing and validation of traditional medicine treatments. He appreciated the efforts of Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) for conducting evidence-based research and providing a reliable solution in this difficult time," the PMO said.

Modi said the country was resolved to provide "cost-effective, easily available and scalable solutions" for testing, vaccine and medication, "not only for India but for the entire world."

He, however, said vigilance should be kept up against the pandemic.

India's federal health minister recently said COVID-19 vaccine would likely be available in India by early next year.

On Thursday morning 67,708 new COVID-19 cases and 680 related deaths were recorded in the country during the past 24 hours, which has pushed the country's COVID-19 tally to 7,307,097 including 111,266 deaths.