Vaccines, the only long-term strategy to combat Covid-19: Bharat Biotech chief

G Naga Sridhar Hyderabad | Updated on April 16, 2020

Krishna M Ella, CMD, Bharat Biotech   -  Mohammed_Yousuf

Developing a vaccine is the only way to tackle Covid19, according to Krishna M Ella, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharat Biotech International.

“There are many promising treatments being studied thoroughly all over the world, although only a vaccine should be considered as a long-term strategy to combat Covid,’’ Ella told BusinessLine.

International collaboration is also vital for developing a vaccine, according to Ella.

Bharat Biotech had recently announced that it was in the process of developing a vaccine, CoroFlu, for Covid-19.

“Even for CoroFlu, we have applied a similar approach — which is an international collaboration of virologists at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and vaccine maker FluGen,’’ he said.

“Our approach is to develop a vaccine, which is very easy to deliver even by an anganwadi worker. We are also optimistic that CoroFlu will protect patients from both the flu virus and the novel coronavirus. The vaccine is targeted at the critical adult population,’’ he said.

Probable timeline

When asked about the probable timeline for getting the vaccine ready, Ella said efforts are on at the UW-Madison’s Influenza Research Institute to assess CoroFlu’s safety and efficacy in animal models .

The testing in laboratory animal models and development of the vaccine is expected to take approximately four-six months. CoroFlu may be used in human clinical trials by the fall of 2020, he said.

Preventing spread

According to Ella, the best way to deal with the virus threat is to “adhere and respect the lock-down and practice safe distancing.’’

“Wash your hands and wear a mask when you go out. Talk to your doctor and follow his advice as well as the treatment protocol,’’ he said.

Bharat Biotech has so far successfully developed 10 different viral vaccines. It has delivered more than 5 billion doses of viral vaccines, including anti-rabies vaccine after the acquisition of Chiron Behring from GSK.

It has also supplied 80 per cent of polio vaccine for the Indian government’s national immunisation programme.


Published on April 16, 2020

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