The article under the Ministry of Science and Technology, contrary to the Centre’s stance, affirmed that a vaccine for mass use is unlikely before 2021
NEW DELHI| On July 4, Vigyan Prasar, the science communication wing under the Ministry of Science and Technology, published an article titled ‘Indigenous India COVID-19 Vaccines in the global race to end the pandemic’. A sentence in this article stated that any of the COVID-19 vaccines that are under development across the world, including India, are unlikely to be available for mass use before 2021.
The article under the Ministry of Science and Technology, contrary to Centre’s stance, affirmed in an article that a vaccine for mass use is unlikely before 2021, Central Government’s Press Information Bureau chose to omit this information while carrying the same write-up on its portal.
The paragraph titled ‘Vaccine race’ in the Vigyan Prasar article read, “Parallelly Indian institutions have also engaged in R&D for the development of vaccines in India. With the primary scientific inputs coming from institutions like Pune-based ICMR institution National Institute of Virology and Hyderabad based CSIR institution Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology, six Indian companies are working on a vaccine for COVID-19. Along with the two Indian vaccines, COVAXIN and ZyCov-D, the world over, 11 out of 140 vaccine candidates have entered the human trials. None of these vaccines is unlikely to be ready for mass use before 2021.”
The same article was carried by PBI at 3:21 pm on July 5, Sunday. Curiously, within hours, the last sentence of this paragraph which grabs the attention immediately was out fro the article. The original version of the article was available on the Vigyan Prasar website by the time this report was published. On PIB’s website missing the contradictory sentence, “None of these vaccines is unlikely to be ready for mass use before 2021.”
The article came close on the heels of a clarification by the Indian Council Of Medical Research (ICMR) defending a communique by its chief Balram Bhargava, asking 12 medical institutions and hospitals shortlisted for Covaxin trails. Covaxin is a COVID-19 vaccine candidate being developed by Hyderabad based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR’s National Institute of Virology, Pune.