ICMR director-general Balram Bhargava at an event in November 2019. Photo: ICMR/Facebook.
Chennai: Dr Balram Bhargava, the director-general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), has been admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, after having tested positive for COVID-19, The Wire has learnt.
Sources at ICMR confirmed Dr Bhargava, aged 59 years, has been admitted to AIIMS’s trauma care centre. A healthcare worker at the hospital confirmed on condition of anonymity that Dr Bhargava has COVID-19.
However, no further details were clear at the time of publishing, such as when Dr Bhargava was admitted and his present state of health.
On March 30 this year, PTI reported that the trauma centre of AIIMS was being converted into a dedicated COVID-19 care facility with around 260 beds.
As on 2 pm on December 18, India had confirmed 99.78 lakh people had contracted COVID-19 in the country, of which 3.10 lakh cases are currently active.
Since the country’s COVID-19 epidemic peaked around September 19, the country has been steadily reporting fewer cases each successive day.
At the same time, the race for a COVID-19 vaccine has been heating up, with vaccine candidates being tested by the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech becoming frontrunners.
ICMR has recently been embroiled in controversy involving the severe adverse event in Serum Institute’s clinical trials of the Covishield vaccine. ICMR has also been helping Bharat Biotech with R&D as well as the clinical trials for its Covaxin candidate.
Both Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech applied for emergency use authorisation before the conclusion of their phase 3 clinical trials with the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). However, a subject expert committee of the regulator sent them back demanding more data.