The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) is in the process of finalising its pandemic-readiness report which is expected to be submitted to the Central government in the next 30 days, Dr. S. Eswara Reddy, Joint Drugs Controller, CDSCO, said.
The proposal includes scaling up the laboratory infrastructure and adding staff strength to the organisation. “This is essential to ensure that India is prepared for any more waves and even pandemics/ health emergencies in the future. This pandemic has been taken as a learning curve,” Dr. Reddy said.
Also Read: Health care professionals warn of vaccines going waste due to expiry
Dr. Reddy was interacting with the media at the Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL), Kasauli which has been the centre of India's COVID vaccination campaign, and has tested and cleared for market release over 1,000 batches of COVID vaccines till November 2021.
Speaking about the role of government testing labs, Dr. Reddy said even at the peak of the pandemic, work didn’t stop and efforts were put in to ensure that no delay should happen in vaccine delivery while ensuring quality and timely market access to the public.
“We are looking at enhancing our permanent and contractual staff strength and have also singed MoUs with various countries, including Argentina and Brazil, where we are looking at sharing knowledge, best practices and also training. Collaboration is the way forward. This pandemic has taught us that we have to be prepared for any such incidents in the future and even COVID surges. The fight against COVID is a comprehensive one and all entities have to be strengthened to ensure public safety,” he said.
Also Read: Top UK scientist says new COVID-19 variant Omicron 'not a disaster', vaccination likely to protect
Meanwhile, Dr. Arun Bhardwaj, director, CDL, Kasauli, said that till November 23, a total of 1,049 batches of COVID-19 vaccine have been released, comprising approximately 1,521 million vaccine doses.
“Even during the pandemic peaks, the CDL labs, which are comparable to the best in the world, were working to ensure that there is no delay in public access to vaccine,” Dr. Bhardwaj said, adding that the unprecedented pandemic saw several measures put in place to contain the situation.
Public safety paramount
“The concept of parallel, fast track testing was used for COVID vaccines and no samples were rejected on account of not meeting quality standards so far. This is also an assurance to the general public that the vaccines available in India are world class and must be taken in full dose. These have been allowed into the market after the strictest quality control. Any vaccine hesitancy on account of quality is totally unfounded,” he said.
COVID vaccines are tested for potency, sterility, biochemical or abnormal toxicity etc before approval is given for release in market for commercial use.