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IIT Guwahati

IIT Guwahati collaborates with Hester Biosciences to develop vaccine against COVID-19

April 29, 2020

Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati is collaborating with Hester Biosciences Limited, a pharmaceutical company based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, to work on the vaccine development against COVID-19. The agreement between the two parties was signed on 15 April 2020.

The vaccine will be based on recombinant avian paramyxovirus based vector platform. The recombinant avian paramyxovirus-1 will be used to express the immunogenic protein of SARS-CoV-2. The recombinant avian paramyxovirus-1 expressing the SARS-CoV-2 protein could be used as a vaccine candidate for further study.

The avian paramyxovirus-1 has been explored as a vaccine vector for various animals and human pathogens. The avian paramyxovirus-1 has been used to express the immunogenic protein of human pathogens such as HIV, avian influenza virus, human parainfluenza virus, SARS-CoV. Similarly, it has also been explored as a vaccine vector for animal pathogens such as infectious bursal disease virus, infectious laryngotracheitis virus, bovine herpes virus, Nipah virus etc.

The team at IIT Guwahati is headed by Dr. Sachin Kumar, Associate Professor, Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering. The team has generated the recombinant avian paramyxovirus-1 based vaccine flatform for Classical Swine Fever and Japanese encephalitis. The role of the Institute is to produce the recombinant vaccine candidate.

Kumar said, “It is too early to comment on the efficacy and immunogenicity of the vaccine, however, we will be able to reveal more details about this vaccine after the results of animal studies are obtained.”

Rajiv Gandhi, CEO and MD, Hester Biosciences Limited, said, “In the current pandemic situation of COVID-19, the world is looking at developing preventive and curative measures to safeguard mankind. IITG & Hester have collaborated to develop and manufacture a recombinant vaccine against COVID-19 disease as a preventive measure. Hester’s involvement would be from master seed development up to release of the commercial vaccine”.

IIT Guwahati and Hester Biosciences Limited expect the vaccine to be ready by the end of this year to start animal studies. The work is currently in its early stage of development.

Prof. T. G. Sitharam, Director, IIT Guwahati, is hopeful that the outcome of this important collaboration will be a win-win situation for the country and will lead to breakthrough results in prevention of COVID-19 as well as provide leads for vaccine developments against other diseases as well in immediate future.

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