The University of Hyderabad (UoH) and CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in collaboration with VINS Bioproducts, have developed the first antidote against Covid-19 — Vincov-19 — and have successfully completed the Phase 2 clinical trials across multiple centres in India.  

The antidote, Vincov-19, is now ready for market authorisation and for simultaneous phase 3 clinical trials. The Team was led by Krishnan H Harshan at CCMB and the UoH team was headed by Nooruddin Khan.

Maximum coverage

Phase 2 Clinical trials were conducted across multiple centres in India and included over 200 patients. They also included testing the antidote against the Omicron variant to ensure maximum coverage against the virus and its known mutations. In this phase, Vincov-19 was administered to patients with moderate severity of Covid-19. One group of patients was given it along with Standard of Care (SoC), and another group was given SoC only. 

“Vincov-19 showed an excellent safety profile in the phase-2 trials. There was a good and early improvement in the clinical condition of the patients’‘ the UoH said in release. 

In the development of this viral antigen, CCMB helped develop the viral antigen. While the UoH dealt with product characterisation; VINS Bioproducts managed the equine immunisation and clinical development in their state-of-art manufacturing plant in Telangana. 

Vincov-19 contains Equine polyclonal antibodies (EpAbs) against the COVID-19 virus. It’s highly purified F(ab’)2 antibody fragments have a high neutralising capacity against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Since neutralising antibodies could block the internalisation of the virus to the lung cells, it was postulated that their passive administration should render maximal clinical benefits if they are applied at the early stages of the disease.

Fruitful results

According to B J Rao, Vice-Chancellor, UoH, the academia and industry collaboration with complementing technical and infrastructural strengths available in the three partnering organisations yielded fruitful results in less than a year.

Vinay K. Nandicoori, Director, CCMB, Hyderabad, said, “These therapeutic antibodies are the first in India and among the few around the globe. It is essential to have multiple options, including therapeutic antibodies, especially for severe clinical cases of Covid.’‘ It was a major step for the future targeted collaborations between academia and industry, he added. 

Siddharth Daga, Chief Executive Officer, VINS Bioproducts said: “Phase-2 clinical trials of Vincov-19 have been very successful. It has been shown to be safe and ensures the speedy recovery of patients suffering from Covid-19. We would urge the authorities to allow us the market authorisation so that we can strengthen our fight against Covid-19.”