Mynvax, the “warm” Covid-19 vaccine developed by the researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, is effective for all major variants of concern of SARS-CoV2 virus in animal studies.

A team of Australian scientists who evaluated the heat-tolerant vaccine developed by a team led by Raghavan Varadarajan -- a professor at Molecular Biophysics Unit at the IISc -- found that the recombinant subunit vaccine triggered a strong immune response in mice, protected hamsters from the virus and remained stable at 37 degree Celsius (°C) up to a month and up to 90 minutes at 100°C.

“Our data shows that all formulations of Mynvax tested result in antibodies capable of consistent and effective neutralisation of the Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern,” said S S Vasan, an India-born scientist at the Geelong-based Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), in a statement.

The findings were reported in the journal ACS Infectious Diseases on Thursday.

Most vaccines require refrigeration to remain effective. In comparison, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine must be kept between 2-8°C, the Pfizer vaccine, which requires specialised cold storage at -70°C.

Though an up-and-coming vaccine candidate, Mynvax is still in the very early stages of development. “We are still waiting for money to do clinical development,” Varadarajan told BusinessLine.

The Australian scientists contributed to the study by assessing vaccinated mice sera (blood samples) for efficacy against key coronavirus variants, including the Delta variant currently spreading globally. The Mynvax-vaccinated mice sera show a strong response to all variants of the live virus, said Vasan, a co-author of the study along with Varadarajan and others.

CSIRO’s Health and Biosecurity Director, Rob Grenfell, said the pandemic has demonstrated the need for global scientific collaboration to address the urgent demand for multiple cost-effective COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.

“A thermostable or ‘warm vaccine’ is critical for remote or resource-limited locations with extremely hot climates which lack reliable cold storage supply chains, including regional communities in Australia’s outback and the Indo-Pacific region,” said Grenfell.