Department of Biotech shortlists 3 firms to provide funding for developing COVID-19 vaccines
Recently, the Department of Biotechnology shortlisted three companies to fund the evolution of a COVID-19 vaccine. The three companies are Cadila Healthcare Ltd, Bharat Biotech International Ltd and Serum Institute of India Private Limited. The department received 13 other proposals for diagnostics, therapeutics and other interventions to battle against coronavirus.
As per the DBT, a dexterous approach is being adopted to ensure that vaccine companies are employing different platforms and different stages of development are fast-tracked through a research association under funding from the National Biopharma Mission, an initiative launched in 2017 to support the development of vaccines and drugs.
The Department of Biotechnology and the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council had invited applications on the COVID-19 Research Consortium. The first phase to apply was closed on 30th March and around 500 applications were received from academia and industry.
“Funding support has been recommended to Cadila Healthcare Ltd for advancing the development of a DNA Vaccine candidate against novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and to Bharat Biotech International Ltd for COVID-19 vaccine candidate utilising the inactivated rabies vector platform. For the Phase III, human clinical trials study of recombinant BCG vaccine planned in high-risk population, Serum Institute of India Private Limited (SIIPL) will be supported,” claimed the official statement.
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has joined hands with Cadila Pharmaceuticals Ltd to evaluate Mycobacterium W (Mw) for rapid recovery of COVID-19 positive patients and to reduce the spread of disease.
Mylab Discovery Solutions Pvt Ltd, Huwel Lifesciences, Ubio Biotechnology Systems Pvt Ltd, Dhiti Life Sciences Pvt Ltd, MagGenome Technologies Pvt Ltd, Bigtec Pvt Ltd and Yaathum Biotech Pvt Ltd are also likely to receive funding to enhance indigenous production and increase the production of molecular and rapid diagnostic tests.
A collective facility to produce diagnostic kits and ventilators will be entrenched at Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone (AMTZ) to surge production capacity to different manufacturers. Development of contactless, affordable thermopile-based ultrasonic sensors for screening of COVID-19 suspects along with indigenous production of novel PPE for health worker would also be backed under the initiative.