Science

CSIR keen to collaborate on m-RNA tech, says chief Mande

PT Jyothi Datta Mumbai | Updated on January 25, 2021

CSIR Director General Shekhar C Mande (File Photo)

Research institute gearing up for a study post-vaccination

The doors of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research are open to anyone wanting to work on the m-RNA technology in India, said CSIR director general Shekhar C. Mande.

“It is an exciting science and this is the first time vaccines have use this technology. We are willing to partner with anyone who wants to collaborate on this technology,” Dr Mande told Business Line, clarifying that they were not part of discussions on these vaccines.

Two Covid-19 vaccines from US companies Pfizer and Moderna use this platform. And while Pfizer has a presence in India and has committed to bring its vaccine, Moderna does not have a local collaborator and there is much speculation on who would make a suitable partner.

Scientific study

The CSIR is meanwhile gearing-up for a post-vaccination study to capture how the Covid-19 vaccines that are being given in India have worked. It will be a small scientific study sampling different people in terms of antibodies created in the system and how long the immunity lasts, he said.

It would be a mix of people who have intense exposure to the virus like healthcare workers and others will less exposure, he said. And since it would involve people who received both Covaxin and Covishield vaccine, the study would provide a comparison, he said. With a network of 37 laboratories, he said, the study would be across India and would start after the second dose.

CSIR has been involved with Covid-19 related research, including the Feluda-CRISPR diagnostic technology developed by the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology’s (IGIB), that has since been commercialised by TATA Medical and Diagnostics Ltd, a fledgeling healthcare venture from the Tata Group. Another collaboration where its research has been taken ahead involves drugmaker Cipla on antiviral Favipiravir. The pandemic year has illustrated the need for a quick response and solutions, he said, hopeful that the upcoming Union Budget would increase the allocation to the scientific sector.

Published on January 25, 2021

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