Home / News / India /  Centre works with private sector for next-gen covid shot

NEW DELHI : Scientists from the department of biotechnology are working with manufacturers Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech on next generation covid-19 vaccines—a single dose without any need for boosters to protect against new variants.

“Our aim is that these next generation covid vaccines should not be repeated with multiple doses. Only one vaccine dose should be enough to provide long- lasting immunity and should be able to protect from future viruses. While some pharma companies are planning to develop strain-specific vaccines, others are doing research to develop bivalent vaccines (by mixing one or two viruses). A lot of research and development is being done on these lines," said an official from the health ministry.

A spokesperson at Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech said, “Bharat Biotech team is actively working and developing next generation covid vaccines. Bivalent vaccines, intranasal vaccines, etc are under development."

A single catch-all vaccine may help countries avoid situations of vaccine avoidance. In India, for instance, only around 20% of those eligible have taken the booster dose.

Experts said current vaccines continue to provide high levels of protection against severe disease and death for all variants of covid-19, the emergence of Omicron variant has rapidly displaced other circulating variants globally to become dominant and causing substantial epidemic waves in all 6 WHO regions.

Poonam Khetrapal, WHO regional director, South-East Asia (SERO) “Covid-19 has continued to evolve since SARC-CoV-2 emerged in late 2019 and it is likely that this evolution will continue resulting in the emergence of new variants. The WHO’s technical advisory group on covid-19 vaccine composition, is constantly assessing the implications of emerging variants on the performance of covid-19 vaccines has advised that the inclusion of Omicron in an updated vaccine composition is likely to be beneficial in populations that have already received a covid-19 vaccination primary series."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Priyanka Sharma

Priyanka Shamra is a health and pharma journalist with nearly nine years of field reporting experience. She is a special correspondent with Mint. Her beat includes covering the Ministry of Health and Department of Pharmaceuticals. She also covers the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Department of Biotechnology.
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