Reliance Foundation Chairperson and founder Nita Ambani on Wednesday said that the company would ensure that coronavirus vaccine, whenever available, reaches every nook and corner of the country. She said that Reliance Foundation is gearing up to partner with the government and local municipalities for rapid mega-scale COVID testing across India with the help of Jio's digital infrastructure.
"I can assure you as soon as a Coronavirus vaccine becomes available, we will volunteer by using the same digital distribution and supply chain to ensure that the vaccine reaches every nook and corner of our country," she said at the Reliance Annual General Meeting today.
The statement comes at a time when human clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine have been initiated in India. Earlier on Tuesday, ICMR Director General Dr. Balram Bhargava said: "Since India is one of the largest vaccine producers in the world, it is the country's moral responsibility to fast-track vaccine development to break the chain of coronavirus transmission.
The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has permitted two vaccines -- one developed by Bharat Biotech International Limited in collaboration with the Indian Council Medical of Research and another one by Zydas Cadila Healthcare Ltd to go in for the first and second phase of human clinical trials.
There are two Indian vaccine candidates that have undergone successful toxicity studies in rats, mice, and rabbits, and these data was submitted to the DCGI, following which both got clearance to start an early phase human trials earlier this month, Bhargava said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
Recently, a letter by Bhargava envisaging the launch of a COVID-19 vaccine by August 15 had created quite a flutter with many experts stating such a timeline may not be realistic. Bhargava stated that India is considered as the "pharmacy of the world", saying 60 per cent of the drugs utilised in the US are of Indian origin.