Hisar-based National Research Centre on Equines under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has developed the country’s first Covid vaccine – Ancovax – safe for dogs, lions, leopards, mice and rabbits.

“Ancovax is an inactivated SARS-CoV-2 Delta (COVID-19) vaccine for animals. The immunity induced by Ancovax neutralizes both Delta and Omicron Variants of SARS-CoV-2. The Vaccine contains inactivated SARS-CoV-2 (Delta) antigen with Alhydrogel as an adjuvant. It is safe for dogs, lions, leopards, mice and rabbits,” ICAR spokesman Anil Sharma said.

Patent sought

The ICAR institute has also developed a diagnostic kit for testing Covid in animals. The CAN-CoV-2 ELISA Kit is a sensitive and specific nucleocapsid protein-based indirect ELISA Kit for antibody detection against SARS-CoV-2 in Canines, Sharma said. There are no laboratory animals required for the preparation of the antigens. The Kit is made in India and a patent has been filed for the same. “No other comparable Kits for detection of antibodies in canines are available in the market,” he said.

“The Surra ELISA Kit is a suitable Diagnostic Assay for Trypanosoma evansi infection in multiple animal species. The Surra is one of the most important haemoprotozoan diseases of the different livestock species caused by Trypanosoma evansi. The disease is prevalent in all the agro-climatic parts of India. In India, losses to livestock productivity were estimated to be ₹4,47,400 lakh annually due to Surra,” ICAR said in a statement.

It also said that another testing kit — Equine DNA Parentage — is a powerful genomic technology for parentage analysis. The parentage among the horses can be definitely established using Multiplex PCR Technology to compare allele sizes. At ICAR-NRC on Equines, an optimised 21 DNA Market Panel is being used for Parentage testing, it said.

Releasing the vaccine and kit on Thursday, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said scientists of ICAR have made unparalleled contributions as a result of which the country not only succeeded in essential crops’ production but also in the various fields of allied sciences of agriculture at the global level. “It is due to the untiring contributions of scientists that the country stands self-reliant in developing its own vaccines more rather than importing. This is really a big achievement.”