In a breakthrough discovery, a vaccine and bio-therapeutic product manufacturer named Bharat Biotech, has claimed to have created the first vaccine to curbing the recent rapidly spreading Zika virus. The company has gone ahead and filed for Global Patent for two vaccine candidates.
This company, Bharat Biotech, is located just outside of Hyderabad in India.
The vaccine candidates for which Global Patents have been filed are an inactivated vaccine and a recombinant vaccine. The first is an inactivated version of the Zika virus, which means that the virus-vaccine would build an immune response, but would be too weak to replicate itself or cause infection. The recombinant uses strands of DNA from a Zika virus.
Krishna Ella, entrepreneur, scientist and founder of the biotech company, expressed his surprise when the virus achieved world emergency status.
Speaking to Quartz, he said,
We never expected that the virus will become a serious issue.
But even before stories of the virus spread became very prevalent on news media, Krishna Ella and his team had begun research on the Zika virus, aiming to create a vaccine. According to him, the virus attracted his firm’s attention because the clinical features of the infection in its early stages are identical to those of chikungunya and dengue, which are two infections also spread by mosquitoes and very rampant in India.
Named after the Zika forests of Uganda, where the virus was first discovered in monkeys in 1947, the Zika virus is transmitted by the Aedes Aegipti mosquito, and can also be transmitted sexually. As a matter of fact, the first confirmed case of it being sexually transmitted has been recorded in Houston, Texas, USA.
As soon as the virus achieved pandemic situation, Other global firms like Japan’s Takeda, France’s Sanofi and so many others, have launched research of their own into the virus and the possible development of a vaccine.
But today, Ella’s company announces their latest development. Hear him.
We believe we have an early mover advantage in developing the Zikavac and we are probably the first in the world to file for a 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.
Krishna Ella attained a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and when he returned to his native India from the United States, founded the biotechnology company in 1997.
He also denounced the perception among the international community that India could not come up with a trailblazing discovery, especially in the areas of medicine and biotechnology.
We were the first ones to secure the chikungunya genome in 2007. Still there is a perception that an Indian company cannot do path-breaking research.
Dr. Ella promised that Bharat Biotech had the capacity to produce over a million doses of the vaccine every year. To help with the workload, he has asked the government to help, and according to him, positive responses are expected to follow shortly.
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