Science

Around 30 Indian institutions are working to develop a nCoV-19 vaccine

T V Jayan New Delhi | Updated on May 08, 2020 Published on May 08, 2020

According to the SERB official, academic and research institutions with strong interdisciplinary links with chemists, biologists, virologists, immunologists and clinicians can apply for the IRHPA funding

A few of them are expected to move into clinical trials later this year.

Indian pharma companies and research groups in different scientific laboratories are working on as many as 30 different novel Coronavirus (nCoV-19) vaccines, and a few of them are expected to move into clinical trials later this year.

While taking stock of India’s efforts in developing corona vaccines, drugs and diagnostics on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that nearly 30 Indian vaccines are getting ready. While there are that many, those few in advanced stages of development are mainly those vaccines on which most initial developmental work was carried out elsewhere, shows information sourced from multiple sources.

For instance, the Pune-based Serum Institute is a manufacturing partner for a promising vaccine developed by the University of Oxford. Called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, the vaccine uses a weakened version of the virus that causes the common cold in chimpanzees to carry particular genetic material from SARS-CoV2 virus which makes proteins that help the Covid-19 virus to human cells. The vaccine is already undergoing limited clinical trials in Oxford and is in an advanced stage of development.

 

Serum Institute is also involved in the development of three other nCoV-19 vaccines in collaboration with overseas firms or research institutes and one of them, a live attenuated vaccine, is expected to go to phase 1 trials in the third quarter of 2020.

Similarly, Hyderabad-based BharatBiotech International Limited in association with two US universities – the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Thomas Jefferson University -- is developing two different vaccines. The one jointly developed with the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a nasal vaccine and is expected to go to trials by later part of this year. The other which uses a rabies vaccine platform is also expected to hit Phase 1 trials by December this year.

Similarly, a major Indian pharma company Cadila Healthcare is gearing up to test a DNA vaccine for COVID-19 by November this year. Indian Immunological Limited, a subsidiary of National Dairy Development Board, similarly has a tie-up with Australian Griffith University, but this live attenuated vaccine will not be ready for testing till mid-2022.

Among other Indian pharma firms collaborating with overseas teams are Aurobindo Pharma Limited which tied up with Aurovaccines US and Biological E which is working with a team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There are a few lesser-known pharma firms and startups too in the nCoV vaccine fray, but most of them are in the early stages of development.

Besides these firms, many research groups in Indian laboratories such as National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, in Faridabad, National Centre for Cell Sciences, Pune, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Mohali as well as Thiruvananthapuram too are developing indigenous vaccines. However, they are very early stages of development.

Published on May 08, 2020

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