Home >Companies >News >Bharat Biotech signs pact for adjuvant to boost Covaxin’s immune response

NEW DELHI : Bharat Biotech International Ltd will use adjuvant Alhydroxiquim-II to boost immune response and provide longer lasting immunity for its novel coronavirus vaccine candidate Covaxin, the company said in statement on Monday. The adjuvant is being used under a licensing agreement signed with US-based ViroVax LLC.

An adjuvant is a substance that is added to a vaccine to boost production of antibodies and provide immunity for a longer time, which in turn reduces the dose of antigen needed for vaccination.

“Our partnership with ViroVax resonates with Bharat Biotech’s relentless efforts towards developing safe and effective vaccines coupled with long term immunity," Bharat Biotech chairman and managing director Krishna Ella said.

ViroVax is supported by funding from the US’ National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), that is among the agencies leading the covid-19 response in the US.

Covaxin is an inactivated vaccine derived from a strain of SARS-CoV2 virus, isolated at the Indian Council of Medical Research’s National Institute of Virology (NIV) at Pune.

Bharat Biotech is currently conducting Phase II human trials of Covaxin after receiving approval from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) V.G. Somani. The company is aiming to produce around 200 million doses of covid-19 vaccine at its Hyderabad facility once it receives regulatory approval.

Ella said that the Alhydroxiquim-II adjuvant is different from an adjuvant like aluminium hydroxide, which is the commonly used adjuvant for covid-19 vaccines, as it induces a Th1 based response and not a Th2 based response that has a theoretical risk of vaccine associated enhanced respiratory diseases.

A Th1 response is aimed at increased cell-mediated immunity against the disease, which primarily involves secretion of immune system cells to an infection or accumulating damaged or dead cells. On the other hand, Th2 response leads to humoral immunity, that leads to secretion of antibodies.

Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin is one of three vaccines that are currently in human trials in India, with the other two being Serum Institute of India’s Covishield, co-developed by University of Oxford and UK’s Astrazeneca plc, and Zydus Cadila’s indigenous vaccine ZyCoV-D.

On Sunday, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said that the government is aiming to vaccinate roughly 200-250 million people in India with around 400-500 million doses by July 2021.

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