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Coronavirus: Bharat Biotech's 'CoroFlu' vaccine expected to move to human trials in next three months

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 4 April 2020, 15:45 IST
Bharat Biotech

India’s pandemic vaccine leader, Bharat Biotech is putting together an intranasal vaccine against the deadly coronavirus disease named ‘CoroFlu’.

Bharat Biotech is teaming up with virologist at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and the vaccine enterprise, FluGen, for the piece of research.

CoroFlu is at the moment in the animal testing stage in the United States, and is anticipated to make progress to human tests in the next three months.

“Bharat Biotech will manufacture the vaccine, conduct clinical trials, and prepare to produce almost 300 million doses of vaccine for global distribution. Under the collaboration agreement, FluGen will transfer its existing manufacturing processes to Bharat Biotech to enable the company to scale up production and produce the vaccine for clinical trials,” said Raches Ella, head, business development, Bharat Biotech.

The leading vaccine and bio-therapeutics manufacturers has marketed 16 vaccines, including the one fabricated against the H1N1 flu that gave rise to the 2009 pandemic.

CoroFlu will be built on the backbone of FluGen’s flu vaccine candidate reffered to as M2SR, a novel live influenza vaccine that safeguards mice and ferrets against highly pathogenic avain influenza.

In keeping with an invention by the University of Wisconsin­–Madison virologist and FluGen Co-founders Yoshihiro Kawaoka and Gabriele Neumann, M2SR is a voluntary restraining model of the influenza virus that brings about an immune response against the flu.

Kawaoka’s lab will put gene sequences from SARS-CoV-2, which caused coronavirus, into M2SR so that the new vaccine will also generate immunity against the coronavirus.

Refinement of the CoroFlu vaccine concept and testing in laboratory animal model is likely to take up to months.

“Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad will then begin production scale-up for safety and efficacy testing in humans. CoroFlu could be in human clinical trials by October,” said the company.

“Four Phase-I and Phase-II clinical trials involving hundreds of subjects have shown the M2SR flu vaccine to be safe and well-tolerated. This safety profile, M2SR’s ability to induce a strong immune the response, and the ability of influenza viruses to carry sequences of other viruses make M2SR an attractive option for rapidly developing CoroFlu as a safe and effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccine,” it added.

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First published: 4 April 2020, 15:45 IST