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Bharat Biotech, Thomas Jefferson University to co-develop Covid-19 vaccine

Bharat Biotech and the Thomas Jefferson University of Philadelphia have signed an exclusive deal to develop a new vaccine candidate for Covid-19. The novel vaccine was developed using an existing deactivated rabies vaccine as a vehicle for coronavirus proteins. 
This vaccine is known to produce a strong immune response and is approved for the entire population, including children and pregnant women.
Infectious diseases expert professor Matthias Schnell’s lab developed the vaccine in January and has recently completed preliminary tests in animal models. The vaccine showed a strong antibody response in mice. Researchers are currently testing whether vaccinated animals are protected from SARS-CoV-2 infection, with results expected next month.
Bharat Biotech will be involved in an end-to-end development of the vaccine, including comprehensive clinical trials to achieve commercial licence.
“Our partnership with Bharat Biotech will accelerate our vaccine candidate through the next phases of development,” said professor Schnell — a coronavirus expert who directs The Jefferson Vaccine Institute and chairs Jefferson’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology. “We will be able to complete animal testing and move to Phase 1 clinical trial rapidly” he added.
Under the licence agreement, Bharat Biotech gains exclusive rights to develop, market and deliver Jefferson’s vaccine globally, excluding countries such as the US, Europe, Japan etc, where Jefferson continues to seek partners. With support from the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, Bharat Biotech aims to get into human trials by December 2020.
“In view of the imminent demand for an effective vaccine, Bharat Biotech collaborated with Thomas Jefferson, USA, towards developing a new vaccine for Covid-19, using an inactivated rabies vector platform,’’ Dr Krishna Mohan, CEO, Bharat Biotech said.
Bharat Biotech has more than 100 global patents, a wide product portfolio of more than 16 products, registrations in more than 70 countries and WHO pre-qualifications.
Of the 90-odd coronavirus vaccines being developed, about 25% use an established vaccine to act as a ‘carrier’ or vector for the target virus, in this case, the coronavirus SARS-COV-2 spike protein. The vector used in this new vaccine is a deactivated rabies vaccine, known to produce a strong immune response, and has been proven safe. Not every vaccine produces the same level of the immune response. The rabies vaccine has been shown to generate a rigorous but safe immune reaction that confers life-long protection.
Source & Credit: Financial Express

Bharat Biotech will be involved in an end-to-end development of the vaccine, including comprehensive clinical trials to achieve commercial licence.

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