IIT Guwahati-Hester Biosciences Covid-19 Vaccine to be Ready for Animal Testing by Year's End

GUWAHATI: Guwahati Indian Institute of Technology is collaborating with Hester Biosciences Limited, an Ahmedabad-based pharmaceutical company to work on a counter development. They hope the vaccine is ready by the end of this year to begin animal studies. The work is currently in its initial stage of development.

The IIT Guwahati team is led by Dr. Sachin Kumar, an associate professor in the bioscience and bioengineering department, and the team has generated the Avian Paramyxovirus 1-based recombinant vaccine platform for two other viral diseases: classical swine fever and Japanese encephalitis. The institute's role is to produce the recombinant vaccine candidate.

Speaking about the vaccine for COVID-19, Dr. Sachin Kumar, associate professor in the department of biosciences and bioengineering at IIT Guwahati, said: It is too early to comment on the efficacy and immunogenicity of the vaccine, but we will be able to reveal more details about this vaccine after obtaining the results of animal studies.

IIT Guwahati Director Professor TG Sitharam said he is hopeful that the outcome of this important collaboration will be beneficial to the country and lead to innovative results in the prevention of COVID-19, as well as providing clues to the development of vaccines against other diseases also in the immediate future.

According to an IIT Guwahati statement, the vaccine will be based on the avian paramyxovirus-based recombinant vector platform. Recombinant avian paramyxovirus-1 will be used to express the SARS-CoV-2 immunogenic protein. Recombinant avian paramyxovirus-1 expressing the SARS-CoV-2 protein could be used as a vaccine candidate for further studies.

Avian paramyxovirus-1 has been explored as a vaccine vector for various animals and human pathogens. 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 bag disease virus, infectious laryngotracheitis virus, bovine herpes virus, Nipah virus, etc. Added the statement.

Speaking about the collaboration Rajiv Gandhi, CEO and MD of Hester Biosciences Limited, said: “In the current COVID-19 pandemic situation, the world is seeking to develop preventive and curative measures to safeguard humanity. IITG and Hester have collaborated to develop and manufacture a recombinant vaccine against COVID-19 disease as a preventive measure. Hester's involvement would range from the development of master seeds to the release of the commercial vaccine.

He also added: “Hester has 23 years of experience in manufacturing vaccines on the veterinary side. It manufactures vaccines through fermentation, tissue culture, continuous cell line, and methods of origin of chicken embryos. Hester is also currently working to develop next-generation recombinant poultry vaccines. Being in the manufacture of veterinary vaccines, in addition to working to develop recombinant vaccines, Hester has a fairly good understanding and ability to enter human vaccines, specifically a vaccine against COVID-19 disease.