New Delhi: Bharat Biotech, a country-based private firm, is aggressively working to develop and test a vaccine for Covid-19 and, in this regard, the company has formed a wider collaboration with many institutions, including the country’s government-owned Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR).
The ICMR is the frontrunner institution in handling the Covid-19 crisis in the country.
As per sources, the ICMR, in collaboration with Bharat Biotech, aims to start human trials of the Covid-19 vaccine by the end of this year.
Bharat Biotech, a leading vaccine maker, has already begun testing a vaccine against Covid-19, named CoroFlu. This vaccine is being developed by the firm as part of an international collaboration of virologists and vaccine makers.
Currently, Bharat Biotech is working with more than a dozen prominent institutions.
These institutions include the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi; Stanford University, School of Medicine, US, Center for Vaccine Development, University of Maryland, US; National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Washington DC, US; National Institute of Health (NIH), Washington DC US; Centre for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, US; Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India; National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, besides others.
“CoroFlu will be developed on the backbone of vaccine company FluGen’s flu vaccine candidate known as M2SR, which is a self-limiting version of the influenza virus that induces an immune response against the flu,” a statement reads. The M2SR is a unique form of the flu virus. It lacks a gene called M2, which restricts the virus to undergo only a single round of replication in cells, according to the statement.
Since its inception, Bharat Biotech has been very successful in developing some of the effective vaccines which has a long-lasting impact on the health of millions across the world.
While working on projects with non-profit organisations likes the Gates Foundation, the company has developed many vaccines, including the eco-friendly recombinant Hepatitis-B vaccine (free of cesium chloride and Thiomersal); Rotavirus vaccine from a naturally attenuated strain and the Typhoid Conjugate vaccine, besides others.
Bharat Biotech claims to have delivered over 3 billion vaccine doses across the world.
The company, which is currently working on research on more than 10 vaccines, was the first to develop vaccines for viral diseases like Chikungunya and Zika.
At present, more than hundreds of Covid-19 vaccine development projects are in the pipeline across the world and any lead in this direction will become a showstopper for the spread of the virus.