Science

Bharat Biotech to spearhead CSIR-backed Covid-19 therapy efforts

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 08, 2020 Published on May 08, 2020

 

The Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) would lead a project to develop human monoclonal antibodies as therapy for Covid-19 infection recently sanctioned by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the firm said in a statement on Friday.

The project brings together academia – the Pune-based National Centre for Cell Sciences and Indian Institute of Technology, Indore – and industry Gurrgram-based PredOmix Technologies and BBIL for meeting the public health emergency precipitated by Covid-19, which has infected nearly 59,000 Indians so far.

Although efforts are underway for developing drugs and vaccines for controlling the Covid-19 pandemic, these are slow and expensive processes with uncertainties. Therefore, an alternative therapeutic regimen for early deployment is critical, the statement said.

 

The present project aims at generating highly effective and specific human monoclonal antibodies that are capable of neutralising the SARS-CoV2 virus. Such virus-neutralising antibodies can block the spread of infection by binding to the virus and rendering it ineffective. Monoclonal antibody therapy is a highly effective and safe method.

“The purpose of vaccination is to protect the healthy against future infections, and it alone may not provide a complete solution. We feel the monoclonal antibody therapy will provide a viable option,” said Krishna Ella, Chairman & Managing Director Bharat Biotech.

“The question is of how to treat those individuals who are already infected? Plus, we do not yet know how effective an anti-SARS-CoV2 vaccine will be in the older people and those with co-morbidities. Given the large number of Indians suffering from hypertension, diabetes, and heart diseases, this becomes an important issue.” Ella added.

“While both Israel and The Netherlands have recently announced the development of virus-neutralising antibodies, our approach is to develop a powerful cocktail of neutralising antibodies that can also simultaneously block mutational variants of the virus. We are fast-tracking the development process, to make the antibodies available within the next six months and thus improve the treatment efficacy,” he said.

Published on May 08, 2020

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