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TMC, BJP spar over Sputnik V trials in Bengal

“We have the power to launch the vaccine in our state but the Centre should inform us about the organisation that will supply it for clinical trial,” Miss Banerjee said.

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

Controversy in connection with the Phase II clinical trial of Russian Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V candidate in Bengal got involved in political attack and counter-attack between ruling Trinamul Congress and opposition BJP today. While addressing a programme at Khatra in Bankura district today chief minister Miss Mamata Banerjee said that the Centre is playing drama on vaccine issue.

“We have the power to launch the vaccine in our state but the Centre should inform us about the organisation that will supply it for clinical trial,” Miss Banerjee said.

The state BJP president Dilip Ghosh, on the other hand, has scathing attack on Miss Banerjee’s government saying, “The state government did not allow Phase II clinical trial of the Russian vaccine at College of Medicine and Sagar Dutta Hospital in the outskirts of Kolkata. Centre had taken the initiative for the vaccine trial in the teaching hospital.”

“The state government is surprisingly reducing the number of swab sample tests of Covid-19 suspects in Bengal at a time when the affected cases are on the rise,” Ghosh alleged.

The clinical trial of the Russian vaccine to prevent coronavirus infections has been put on hold at the Sagar Dutta Hospital owing to state government’s delay in grant of approval of the project.

The trials were proposed to begin at the state-run teaching hospital at Kamarhati in North 24 Parganas district adjoining Kolkata later this week along with six other centres in different parts of the country.

“We will not be able to hold the Phase II trials of SputnikV vaccine at the Sagar Dutta Hospital because of the slow approach of the state health department in giving the approval. We had applied for the approval on 4 November and there is no response yet. It’s too late now,” according to the sources in the health ministry.

While the initial feasibility process at the hospital started along with the other centres where the trials are to take place, the approval could not be obtained in time, the sources said.

After securing the health department’s approval, the consent of the hospital’s Institutional Ethics Committee (IEC) is also required before starting the trials. The IECs of the rest six institutions have already given the go ahead for the trials.