Published: 08th May 2020
CSIR's project to develop human antibodies for COVID-19 will be led by Bharat Biotech
Although efforts are underway for the development of drugs and vaccines for controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, the processes are slow and expensive and have uncertainties
Leading vaccine maker Bharat Biotech on Friday said it will lead CSIR-NMITLI supported project to develop human antibodies for COVID-19 therapy.
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) under its New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI) has sanctioned a project to develop human monoclonal antibodies as therapy for COVID-19 infections.
The project will be led by Bharat Biotech, a Hyderabad-based manufacturer of vaccines and bio-therapeutics, which exports its products to over 65 countries.
"We are fast-tracking the development process, to make the antibodies available within the next 6 months and thus improve the treatment efficacy," said Dr Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharat Biotech.
He said that while both Israel and Netherlands recently announced the development of virus-neutralizing antibodies, their approach will be to develop a powerful cocktail of neutralizing antibodies that can also simultaneously block mutational variants of the virus.
This programme will be done in collaboration with National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), Pune, Indian Institute of Technology, Indore, PredOmix Technologies.
Although efforts are underway for the development of drugs and vaccines for controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, the processes are slow and expensive and have uncertainties. Therefore, an alternate therapeutic regimen for early deployment is critical, Bharat Biotech said.
"The purpose of vaccination is to protect the healthy against future infections and it alone may not provide the complete solution. We feel the monoclonal antibody therapy will provide a viable option," said Dr. Ella.
"The question is of how to treat those individuals who are already infected? Moreover, we do not yet know how effective an anti-SARS-CoV2 vaccine will be for the elderly and those with co-morbidities. Given the large number of Indians suffering from hypertension, diabetes and heart diseases, this has become an important issue," he added.