Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has partnered with Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) to develop a fully indigenous vaccine for COVID-19, the apex health research body said on Saturday.
The vaccine will be developed using the virus strain isolated at the ICMR's National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, a statement said.
The strain has been successfully transferred from NIV to BBIL, it added.
"Work on vaccine development has been initiated between the two partners. The ICMR-NIV will provide continuous support to BBIL for vaccine development. ICMR and BBIL will seek fast-track approvals to expedite vaccine development, subsequent animal studies and clinical evaluation of the candidate vaccine," the health research body said in the statement.
The death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 1,981 and the number of cases climbed to 59,662 in the country on Saturday, according to the Union Health Ministry.