Bharat Biotech launches first vaccine candidate Zikavac for Zika virus


Vaccines and bio-therapeutic manufacturer, Bharat Biotech, announced breakthrough in developing world’s first, 2 promising candidates Zikavac vaccines for Zika infection.

Bharat Biotech one of the top, bio-health, science and research company in the developing world and is home to some of the most brilliant minds in the world began work on the Zika virus a year ago.

The company has invested over 150 million dollars since inception to build its portfolio of vaccines. The most remarkable vaccine Bharat-Biotechdevelopments have been- Rotavac- first vaccine from the developing world, chikungunya Vaccine- entering phase 1 trials shortly, first in the developing world. Typbar TCV -Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine – successfully commercialized.

WHO just announced a disease linked to the Zika virus in Latin America poses a global public health emergency requiring a united response. Zika is now present in 23 countries. Brazil, the hardest-hit country, has reported around 3,530 cases of the devastating birth defect called microcephaly in 2015 that are strongly suspected to be related to Zika. The Zika virus is spread by mosquitoes of the Aedes genus, which can breed in a pool of water as small as a bottle cap and usually bite during the day. The mosquito-transmitted infection is related to dengue, yellow fever and West Nile virus.

We have two Zikavac vaccine candidates in development; one is a recombinant vaccine and another an inactivated vaccine that has reached the stage of pre-clinical testing in animals, said Dr Krishna Ella.

“We believe we have an early mover advantage in developing the Zikavac and we are probably the first in the world to file for global patent for Zika vaccine candidates. We have two candidate vaccines in development. One of them is an inactivated vaccine that has reached the stage of pre-clinical testing in animals. Currently our efforts are towards scale up and characterization of the vaccine product. Our interest in Zika virus, an obscure virus when we started the project a year ago was that the clinical features at an early stage of infection are indistinguishable from that of dengue and chikungunya.

Right now consistency in process development has been achieved at 40 L pilot scale. Furthermore, a recombinant vaccine using the surface antigens of the virus is being concurrently developed.

Considering that women of childbearing age and pregnant women are the prime target group for Zika virus vaccine. We consider safety as the overriding factor in development of a new vaccine for this virus. The vaccine methods developed early on, before the devastating consequences of the epidemics in Brazil came to light provided us a push to accelerate vaccine development, Dr Sumathy, director R&D Bharat Biotech said.

In the absence of knowledge on viral pathogenesis and immune correlates required for protection, an early start in vaccine development has nevertheless provided a fair advantage to face the eventuality of an epidemic outbreak in the region added.

“The first thing is to be prepared for the worst,” says Dr Ella said who along with Dr. Sumathy and the R&D team at Bharat Biotech is working in the Zika vaccine program said. We hope to announce its arrival of Zikavac to the world as early as possible, Dr Sumathy added.

The multidimensional Innovation-oriented biotechnology company Bharat Biotech has supplied over 3 billion+ doses of vaccines to over 65 countries to tackle infectious and neglected diseases in both children and adults. It’s most recent ‘Innovate in India’, ‘Make in India, Made in India’ victory has been the roll out of Rotavac, the Rotavirus vaccine (live attenuated, oral) for a safe and effective in prevention of rotavirus diarrhoea.

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