Published: 30th March 2021
IICT Hyderabad to develop raw materials for COVID-19 vaccines
On Monday, three companies, including the maker of India's first COVID-19 vaccine — Bharat Biotech, Biovet and Sapigen Biologix, signed a joint Master Collaborative Agreement (MCA) with the IICT
Hyderabad-based Indian Institute of Chemical Technology looks to play an important role in making India self-sufficient in the manufacturing of raw materials required for making COVID-19 vaccines, amid reports of the US and other wealthy countries implementing curbs on the export of raw materials essential for their manufacture.
On Monday, three companies, including the maker of India's first COVID-19 vaccine — Bharat Biotech, Biovet and Sapigen Biologix, signed a joint Master Collaborative Agreement (MCA) with the IICT.
As part of the agreement, the industry collaborators will provide necessary financial support to IICT for developing key raw materials required by the collaborators and also perform in-vitro and in-vivo studies for further development of potential vaccine candidates and biotherapeutics formulations.
Also, the private companies and IICT will collaborate on the development of novel platform technologies for biotherapeutics and vaccines to support indigenous, affordable healthcare solutions for humans and animals.
Speaking at the MCA signing at IICT, Bharat Biotech CMD Dr Krishna Ella said various chemicals that were essential in making vaccines were not available in India and had to be imported, including Thimerosal, the chemical used as a preservative in the vaccine, and Beta propiolactone, used for inactivating the virus. He also pointed out that Bharat Biotech was unable to get one of the raw materials it required from the US and Sweden.
Dr Ella said there was a need to anticipate such problems and stressed the need for the development of ancillary industries in India if a leapfrog is expected in the growth of the vaccine sector in the country.
CSIR DG Dr Shekhar C Mande, speaking at the event, said CSIR was focusing on developing the mRNA vaccine platform in India and that discussions were also on with Dr Ella on the same, who has expressed confidence that the platform will be here within a few months.
Dr Mande also said the CSIR labs were involved in 20 clinical trials related to Covid-19 and five clinical trials on phytochemicals. He added that the results of clinical trials in collaboration with Sun Pharma on phytochemical ACQH will be out within ten days.