ICMR & Bharat Biotech Partnership To Develop COVID-19 Vaccine
To develop “a fully indigenous vaccine” for Covid-19 infection, the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) is tying up with the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, with India formally entering the global race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.
ICMR said in a statement that at its Pune-based National Institute of Virology, they have managed to isolate a strain of the novel coronavirus and this strain has been sent to Bharat Biotech, Hyderabad.
With the Pune lab providing “continuous support” to the Hyderabad-based company, ICMR and Bharat Biotech will now work on developing a vaccine based on the isolate virus strain. ICMR also added that for the different stages of vaccine development, including human trials and animal studies, it will seek fast-track approvals.
Bharat Biotech is also part of international collaborations, one of which is to mass-produce a vaccine that’s currently under pre-clinical research through a partnership with a US university.
This is the first time ICMR is starting work on a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, while it has been involved in a number of research projects, including a global trial of potential drugs for COVID-19 being run by the World Health Organisation.
Other companies in India which are on the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine include:
Zydus Cadila, the Ahmedabad-based pharma major is working on two prospective vaccines for the COVID-19 virus. The two vaccines are in pre-clinical research, according to WHO’S global database.
Similarly, the Serum Institute of India in Pune is part of two international vaccine collaborations. Scientists at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom are developing one of these vaccines. The Serum Institute of India is gearing up to be mass production of the vaccine as currently, the Oxford vaccine is one of the eight prospects in human trials globally.
With the aim of ensuring efficacy and safety, vaccines undergo many stages of pre-clinical research, animal testing, and human trials. It can take years together or even a decade sometimes, to develop a vaccine.
However, right now, scientists over the world are forced to fasten this process in an effort to accelerate the development of a vaccine given the unprecedented nature of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Globally, there are eight vaccine candidates that have entered human trials already. These include four prospects developed in China, one each in the United Kingdom and Germany and two in the United States.
Out of these, the vaccine at the most advanced stage, the Phase II human trials (new vaccines typically go through three phases of human trials) is the one developed by the China-based CanSino Biologics Inc in collaboration with an arm of the People’s Liberation Army.
ICMR & Bharat Biotech Partnership