BELAGAVI: Jeevan Rekha Hospital in Belagavi is among 12 institutions chosen by the India Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to fast-track clinical trial approvals for indigenous Covid-19 vaccine candidate — Covaxin — being developed in collaboration with Bharat Biotech. ICMR is looking to launch the vaccine by August 15. Amith S Bhate, director of the multi-speciality Jeevan Rekha Hospital, said he had been intimated two days ago. “We are ready to take up the task and complete the mission by August. We are conducting the trials free of cost,” he said, adding that trials would begin once they receive confirmation from the state government. “My hospital is privileged to work on a potential cure for Covid.” The 100-bed Jeevan Rekha Hospital, established in 2006, has successfully tested several vaccines, including one for typhoid, Bhate said. He said the vaccine would be tested on 100-150 people. While the choice of Jeevan Rekha Hospital made news, many government agencies said they are unaware of the developments. Director of Belagavi Institute of Medical Sciences, Vinay Dastikopp, said he had received many calls about the trials but did not know of a local hospital being selected. District health officer Shashikant Muniyal said for any hospital to conduct clinical trials, approval from the state government is necessary. He said he had received no such intimation. Debprasad Chattopadhyay, director of National Institute of Traditional Medicine (the Belagavi unit of ICMR) and a virologist, told TOI, “We should have been kept informed about the trial. It is a significant step and requires a high-level of expertise”.