A new beam of hope shines upon us in these dark times. India, is on it’s way to relieve the world from this coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday, ICMR partnered with a biotech company named Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL), aiming to provide India with the first indigenous corona vaccine by August 15, 2020. ICMR had recently approved the human trials for India’s first COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin (BBV 152 COVID Vaccine), last week.
The director general of ICMR, Dr. Bhargava stated in a press release that after the human trials this month, the vaccine should be ready to be marketed by August 15, 2020. He said that BBIL is working swiftly to ensure the human trials are on the right track. However, Dr. Bhargava added in his statement, that the final result will depend totally upon the coordination of all the clinical trials involved in the project.
He furthermore said, that the BBV 152 COVID Vaccine marks the first indigenous vaccine against coronavirus developed in India. The project is being overlooked by topmost government officials, and is a top priority for the central government as well as the scientists at ICMR right now. The vaccine is a product of the viral strain isolated from SARS-CoV-2 by the scientists at National Institute of Virology, Pune. Both, ICMR and BBIL are on their toes with this project and are collaborating on both preclinical as well as clinical trials for the same.
BBIL is a world renowned biotech company which supplies over 4 billion doses of various drugs against rotavirus, Zika virus, hepatitis, Japanese encephalitis etc. every year.
The managing director of the company, Krishna Ella is confident about the indigenous vaccine ‘Covaxin’. But there are some numbers, which just don’t add up! BBIL has currently partnered with US based company on two other vaccines: CoroFlu and Corovax.
Corovax, is being co-developed by BBIL and a US based company named Jefferson Vaccine Centre (JVC). It is based on an inactivated rabies vaccine, which has the same spike protein as the novel coronavirus. This spike protein attaches to the cell membrane of the cells of the host and causes an infection. Scientists believe, that this might be a potential immune response generator in the body. JVC in its statement on April 7, had claimed that they would require 1 more month for mice trials.
This technology of using rabies vaccine to deliver the virus has been perfected by scientists and is used for the treatment of MERS and SARS. It is speculated that BBIL is using the same technology. And if that’s the case, then Covaxin will turn out to be the same vaccine as Corovax but with a different viral strain. We hope that BBIL will reveal technical details of Covaxin soon and that this vaccine will turn out to be a much needed boon for the world!