COVID-19 vaccine may be ready by 2022: SII

Published - February 20, 2020 01:20 am IST - Pune

An official checks the temperature of a passenger   at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport   on Wednesday.

An official checks the temperature of a passenger at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport on Wednesday.

In the next six months, Serum Institute of India (SII) in Pune may begin human trials for a probable vaccine for the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Currently in the pre-clinical tests phase or the animal trial phase, SII’s vaccine candidate has been developed using a laboratory-made synthetic virus.

“Our vaccine-virus strain is identical to the original virus and can generate a robust immune response,” said Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer of SII, in a press statement, adding that he hopes to be ready with the vaccine by early 2022.

Being developed by SII in partnership with American Biotechnology firm Codagenix, the costs of the project is upto ₹300 crore.

SII aims to secure external funding for the project through various global partners. “We are in talks with a number of firms across the globe for potential partnerships. We are also not excluding China as a potential site for our clinical trials. By August-end, we will have data on mice and primates to submit to regulatory authorities to enter into the human trials phase,” Mr. Poonawalla added.

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines global business unit of Sanofi, has also announced efforts to advance a vaccine for COVID-19 by leveraging previous development work for a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) vaccine.

“COVID-19 belongs to a family of coronaviruses that can cause respiratory disease. In late 2002, the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) coronavirus emerged and then largely disappeared by 2004.

Sanofi plans to further investigate an advanced pre-clinical SARS vaccine candidate that could protect against COVID-19,” said a press statement, adding that Sanofi would collaborate with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), U.S.

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