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CSIR-CCMB announces potential mRNA vaccine against COVID

CSIR-CCMB Director Vinay K. Nandicoori (left) and AIC-CCMB Director N. Madhusudhana Rao announcing the success of mRNA vaccine technology platform development at the institute in Hyderabad on May 13, 2022.

CSIR-CCMB Director Vinay K. Nandicoori (left) and AIC-CCMB Director N. Madhusudhana Rao announcing the success of mRNA vaccine technology platform development at the institute in Hyderabad on May 13, 2022. | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL

CSIR-CCMB has announced the success of ‘proof of principle’ of the first indigenous mRNA vaccine technology coming from a scientific institution stable in the country, having completed experiments in lab and on mice, said Director Vinay Nandicoori on Friday.

“We are very excited about this achievement of replicating the mRNA vaccine technology end to end. We are proud to have developed the potential mRNA vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2 within 10 months of having initiated the concept. It is based on the Moderna model, but has been built with the information available in the open and our own technology and materials,” he told a press conference at the CCMB, along with Atul Incubation Centre (AIC-CCMB) director N. Madhusudana Rao.

Dr. Nandicoori said “robust immune response” has been observed against the COVID spike protein in mice upon administration of two doses of the mRNA. “The anti-spike antibodies generated were found to be more than 90% efficient in preventing the human ACE2 receptor binding to the coronavirus”, said scientist Rajesh Iyer.

The mRNA vaccine candidate is now undergoing pre-clinical Hamster challenge studies to evaluate the efficacy to protect against live virus infection. While vaccines work by training the immune system to identify disease-causing micro-organisms and eliminate them quickly when they encounter them, in the mRNA technology, the host cell’s immune system is trained to evade the real infection. This is done by introducing mRNA of the micro-organism of concern into the host.

“Though our own vaccine programme has been lauded, we have missed the mRNA vaccine technology developed by Moderna or Pfizer/BioNtech to combat COVID in United States and Europe. And, what we have developed here is different from the mRNA vaccine being developed by Gennova Bio based on self-replicating RNA,” said Dr. Rao, also the lead scientist.

The home grown mRNA vaccine platform holds promise to deal with other infectious diseases like TB, Dengue, Malaria Chickungunya, rare genetic diseases and others. “The beauty of this technology is in its rapid turn around times, which means vaccines can be developed for other diseases or a pan-COVID vaccine covering different variants,” said the CCMB director.

The scientists said the technology is ready to be tranferred to any interested firm to take it to the next level of conducting human trials and bringing out the vaccine into the market after approval of the regulatory authorities concerned. “We have been having discussions with a few private firms to scale up to the next level of trials and commercial production,” they added.


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Printable version | May 13, 2022 10:37:45 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/csir-ccmb-announces-potential-mrna-vaccine-against-covid/article65411137.ece