India has taken a giant step towards discovering the cure of COVID-19. A Hyderabad-based biotech company, Bharat Biotech has received a nod to developing India’s first vaccine against the novel coronavirus. The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation has given approval to the company for conducting clinical trials for its vaccine, that has been named ‘COVAXIN’. The clinical trials (Phase I and II) for infected people are expected to start across India from July.
“The vaccine is derived from a strain of SARS-CoV-2 isolated by ICMR-National Institute of Virology, Pune. ICMR and BBIL are jointly working for the pre-clinical as well as clinical development of this vaccine,” the ICMR has said.
Dr Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director of the company, has collaborated with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV) for developing the vaccine.
Dr Ella, in a press release, has said, “We are proud to announce COVAXIN, India’s first indigenous vaccine against COVID-19. The collaboration with ICMR and NIV was instrumental in the development of this vaccine. Our R&D and manufacturing teams worked tirelessly to deploy our proprietary technologies towards this platform.”
ICMR has fast-tracked the project and selected a dozen institutes for clinical trials of the indigenous COVID-19 vaccine (BBV152 COVID vaccine). The ICMR has also asked the institutes to step up clinical trials with a hope to launch the vaccine for public health use by August 15, Independence Day. Although the final outcome will depend on the cooperation of all clinical trial sites involved in this project. This is why the ICMR has been advising the institutes to speed up approvals related to clinical trials and ensure that subjects are enrolled starting this week.
About Bharat Biotech
Bharat Biotech is a reputed drug manufacturer that delivers four billion doses around the world for infections like rotavirus, hepatitis, Zika, Japanese encephalitis and others. The company has now become the first company to manufacture a preservative-free vaccine (Revac-B mcf Hepatitis B Vaccine), launched India’s first cell-cultured swine-flu vaccine, manufacture the world’s cheapest Hepatitis vaccine and the first in the world to find a vaccine for the Zika virus. It is one of the responsible companies that has followed the safety standards for handling waste as prescribed by the Central Pollution Control Board.
Dr Ella, Chairman and Managing Director of the company has said, “When the company makes vaccines affordable to the common man we often get accused of creating something of low quality but we make vaccines believe that technology should reach the common man and no citizen should be deprived of healthcare solutions. This is the same reason why my company has been able to produce several vaccines at an affordable rate.”
Dr Ella has been awarded more than 100 National and International awards which include Bio Spectrum Person of the Year in 2013, University of Wisconsin Distinguished Alumni Award (2011), Business Leader of the Year 2011, Best Technology and Innovation Award from the Prime Minister of India in 2008.
Amidst the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country and the dwindling economy as a result of it, the news is like a ray of light after prolonged darkness. For India may become free of COVID-19 on Independence Day 2020.