The Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Luv Aggarwal has stated that a high-level task force has been formed for COVID-19-related works in the fields of science and vaccine development, co-chaired by Member, Niti Aayog and Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India. Apart from it, Ayurvedic, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Department of Science and Technology (DST), Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Director Genreal (DG)-Health Services and Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) are also members of the task force.
The aim of this task force is to enable COVID-19-related research by academia, industry and international community.
The Task Force has made DBT a central coordinating authority for vaccine development and their main work will be to identify a pathway for vaccine development. For this work, a dynamic list of national and international organisations working for vaccine development is to be made, their progress is to be monitored and facilitation at government-level is to be done by them.
Besides, clinical cohorts will be focussing on long-term follow-up of people for better understanding of the disease and its management will be worked upon.
Furthermore, bio-specimens will be collected which will form the basis for further trials of drugs and vaccines. It will be different from sample-testing protocol.