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India-US pharma companies collaborate for novel coronavirus vaccine.

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The Serum Institute of India has collaborated with New York-based Codagenix Inc for the purpose of developing a vaccine against the novel coronavirus.

By Yana Mir

New Delhi, 07 Apr 2020

In a press release issued Tuesday, the pharma majors said they aimed “to rapidly co-develop a live-attenuated vaccine (LAV) against the emergent coronavirus”

LAVs are derived from disease causing patogens (virus or bacteria) that have been weakened under laboratory conditions. They grow in a vaccinated individual but, because they are weak, cause no or very mild disease.

These vaccines stimulate an immune response that is nearly as strong as that triggered by an infection with the wild-type pathogen.

This is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between Indian and US pharma firms to develop a vaccine for Covid-19, which was declared a pandemic last month and has killed thousands of people while forcing many nations to announce lockdowns of varying severity.

“We hope that we can establish a platform dealing with new infectious diseases and outbreaks beginning with the coronavirus pandemic,” Adar Poonwalla, CEO of Pune-based Serum Institute of India, was quoted as saying in the press release.

According to J. Robert Coleman, CEO of Codagenix, LAVs are “ideally suited to outbreak scenarios as they scale rapidly and generally require only modest amounts of active ingredient for each immunisation, as compared to inactivated and subunit vaccines”.

India-US strategic partnership benefits world’

The collaboration was lauded by the US Department of State, which said it was a “great example” of how America and India’s strategic partnership benefitted the world.

“Great example of how the #USIndia strategic partnership benefits the world: NY biotech company @Codagenix & @SerumInstIndia are collaborating to rapidly co-develop a #COVID19 vaccine. #StrongerTogether AGW,” said Alice Wells in a tweet, the acting assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs.

Based on available data, Codagenix has already designed multiple nCoV vaccine candidate genomes using its proprietary deoptimisation technology. The technology allows for rapid generation of multiple vaccine candidates against emerging viruses, starting with only the digital sequence of the viral genome, the release said.

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