IIT Alumni Council joins race to develop Covid-19 vaccine

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on May 14, 2021

It has sanctioned ₹300 crore from its Megafund initiative

The IIT Alumni Council has joined the race to develop a preventive vaccine for Covid-19, for which it has sanctioned an immediate ₹300 crore and expects to get an another ₹1,800 crore from its MegaFund initiative.

The vaccine stack – a two-dose vaccine which stops the spread of Covid-19 and prevents infection within a few days of the first dose – is said to be free of attenuated animal virus or deactivated Covid virus or virus fragments. The vaccine would be cold-chain preservation, a move that will further its reach to the key metros.

The IIT Alumni Council is the largest global body of alumni, students and faculty, spread across all the 23 IITs and partnering Technical Institutes of Excellence (TieNet).

Ravi Sharma, President of the IIT Alumni Council said: “IIT Alumni Council announces India’s first antigen-free, novel vaccine which is self-limiting, locally manufactured and based on indigenous technology. The preservative-free vaccine is being coupled with an Ayurveda-inspired adjuvant, which will enhance safety as well as be highly efficacious. The end objective is to deliver a continuously upgradable vaccine which can outpace the virus thus helping to end the pandemic.”

The ayurveda-inspired adjuvant is expected to improve efficacy, reduce side effects and is expected to be efficient across all Covid variants. The vaccine will be priced at a US equivalent price point and will be initially available to the IIT Alumni community only.

On completion of the development, the council expects the vaccine to be delivered through specially retrofitted buses to office or home location.

“We are working to get the logistics and supply chain right ab initio. Each vial will be packaged in smart packaging which tracks its provenance as well as temperature history,” said Satish Mehta, Convenor of the MegaFund initiative whose investors are expected to approve a ₹1,800 crore investment shortly.

This will be clubbed with the ₹300 crore seed capital sanctioned by the council.

Also Read: Covid-19: IIT Alumni Council to set up MegaLab in Mumbai for RT-PCR test

In June last year, the council had created a social initiative fund of ₹21,000 crore ($3 billion), the MegaFund, to improve social infrastructure through deployment of innovative technology.

“We have made remarkable progress globally in understanding vaccines since August 2020. This has helped eliminate many of the vaccine modalities being investigated and we now know that a multi-pronged approach that will elicit an antibody response which neutralises a wide variety of virus mutants is the right target to pursue. Furthermore, the potential ability to access and build upon patented vaccine platform technologies could substantially accelerate development timelines,” added Arindam Bose, a Connecticut based Key Thought Leader of the biotechnology industry, Chairperson of the Therapeutic Group in the C19 Task Force and Senior Advisor to the India Vaccine Stack.

Published on May 13, 2021

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