CMO manufactures 13000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine for Oxford clinical trial

Henrietta Brewer
May 29, 2020

K VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) to the government of India, has revealed that almost 30 groups in the country are trying to develop that much-awaited vaccine to fight the novel coronavirus.

Dr Piero Di Lorenzo, President and CEO of Advent and IRBM said: "Our scientists have been working tirelessly, and with great passion, to manufacture and support the development of the COVID-19 vaccine for clinical trials". Our effort is to make it in a year. Drugs that were being tested and developed include the anti-viral Favipiravir, an indigenous phytopharmaceutical ACQH, the BCG vaccine, Tocilizumab, mycobacterium W, Arbidol, Hydroxychloroquine and Remdesivir. "We have to have a manufacturing capability without compromising our standard immunising programme".

Based on this measles vector platform, the privately held company with 38 staff was close to a phase III study for a vaccine against the Chikungunta virus, a tropical disease, before it changed its focus due to the COVID-19 outbreak a few months ago. "So, instead of $200-300 million, it will cost $2-3 billion", Vijayraghavan said. Of these four are in relatively advanced stages, Dr Vinod Paul, member Niti Ayog said on Thursday.

"Apart from that national science laboratories are working on six candidates, of which at least 2-3 look very promising".

On vaccines, it was pointed out that the process is usually slow and fraught with uncertainties. On the disputed HCQ and its use as a preventive medication for frontline workers, he said that several trials that have been done on its use and it has been found that its benefits outweigh any risks. He added that AICTE and CSIR have embarked on a drug discovery hackathon which is a high-end hackathon where students are trained with information on how to do computational drug discovery. "Once candidates that have the right fit are identified, they can then be taken forward by drug manufacturers". "Twenty companies are making these kits in India, and once our requirements are met they can send these kits to other countries", Paul said. He said, about 20 companies are providing diagnostic kits to the countries.

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