India develops world’s first Zika virus vaccine!

Hyderabad based Bharat Bioltech International Limited has developed two candidate vaccines from an imported live Zika virus. However, the trials on animals and humans haven’t begun yet.

Hyderabad, February 3: Amidst a worldwide scare about the Zika virus, the world’s first vaccine to treat the pandemic has been developed and it’s been developed by India! Even as other researchers grope in the dark for an answer to treat the disease which was declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation, Bharat Biotech International Limited- a Hyderabad based firm- has made a giant leap ahead of all of them and successfully developed the vaccine already.

BBIL says that it has already patented the vaccine. Speaking to NDTV, the chairman and managing director of the company, Dr. Krishna Ella said, “On Zika, we are probably the first vaccine company in the world to file a vaccine candidate patent about nine months ago.” The firm has developed two candidate vaccines, using a live imported Zika virus. However, the trails on animals and humans haven’t begun yet and according to the NDTV report they might still be a long time away. Also Read: Zika virus outbreak: Texas reports sexually transmitted case

Dr. Ella says that he has contacted the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to help with the trials and they have been most cooperative. Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, director general of ICMR told NDTV, “We have just been informed about the Zika vaccine candidate that Bharat Biotech has. We will examine it from the scientific point of view and see the feasibility of taking it forward. It is a good example of a Make in India product.” Dr. Ella said that if all goes well, his firm can churn out 1 million doses of the vaccine in four months.

He is all set to seek Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s direct intervention to expedite the process of fast tracking the vaccine’s development and delivery by skipping regulatory clearances to get the vaccine to the countries that need help including Brazil, where the epidemic first broke. The report said, “Experts have lauded Bharat Biotech’s foresight in working on a vaccine so far ahead on a neglected disease that has now taken global epidemic proportions.”


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