Bharat Biotech to lead human monoclonal antibodies project

Doctors preserve the blood samples collected for coronavirus antibody IGG/IGM tests.   | Photo Credit: K.V.S. Giri

A project sanctioned by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to develop human monoclonal antibodies as therapy for COVID-19 infections will be led by Bharat Biotech.

Announcing this on Friday, the Hyderabad-based vaccine manufacturer said though efforts were underway for development of drugs and vaccines for controlling the pandemic, they were slow and expensive processes with uncertainties. Therefore, an alternate therapeutic regimen for early deployment is critical.

The project has been sanctioned under CSIR’s the New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI) and bring together academia - National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), Pune and the Indian Institute of Technology, Indore and industry - PredOmix Technologies, Gurgaon and Bharat Biotech for a public health emergency.

The project aims at an alternate therapeutic regimen by generating highly effective and specific human monoclonal antibodies capable of neutralizing the SARS-CoV2 virus. Such virus-neutralizing antibodies can block the spread of infection by binding to the virus and rendering it ineffective. Monoclonal antibody therapy is a highly effective and safe method, a release from Bharat Biotech said.

Chairman and Managing Director Krishna Ella said “The purpose of vaccination is to protect the healthy against future infections and it alone may not provide the complete solution. We feel the monoclonal antibody therapy will provide a viable option.”

“The question is of how to treat those individuals who are already infected? Plus, we do not yet know how effective an anti-SARS-CoV2 vaccine will be in the elderly people and those with co-morbidities. Given the large number of Indians suffering from hypertension, diabetes, and heart diseases, this becomes an important issue.” he Ella said.

On the approach to deal with pandemic, he said both Israel and The Netherlands had recently announced the development of virus-neutralizing antibodies. “Our approach is to develop a powerful cocktail of neutralizing antibodies that can also simultaneously block mutational variants of the virus. We are fast-tracking the development process, to make the antibodies available within the next 6 months and thus improve the treatment efficacy,” he said.

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Printable version | Mar 2, 2021 4:20:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/bharat-biotech-to-lead-human-monoclonal-antibodies-project/article31538128.ece

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