NEW DELHI: Biopharmaceutical firm Bharat Biotech Ltd has partnered with University of Wisconsin-Madison and US-based company FluGen to develop a vaccine against coronavirus.
The vaccine, called ‘CoroFlu’, will be based on FluGen’s flu vaccine candidate M2SR. Gene sequences from the coronavirus SARS-CoV2 will be inserted into the vaccine candidate to provide additional immunity against covid-19, as well as influenza, Bharat Biotech said.
Bharat Biotech will then scale up production in Hyderabad for safety and efficacy testing in humans, following which CoroFlu could be in human clinical trials by the fall of 2020, it said.
“Bharat Biotech will manufacture the vaccine, conduct clinical trials, and prepare to produce almost 300 million doses of vaccine for global distribution. Under the collaboration agreement, FluGen will transfer its existing manufacturing processes to Bharat Biotech to enable the company to scale up production and produce the vaccine for clinical trials," said Raches Ella, head of business development at Bharat Biotech.
The team will refine the concept of the CoroFlu vaccine and testing on laboratory animal models is expected to take three to six months at the university.
CoroFlu, like M2SR, will be administered intranasally. This mimics the natural route of infection by coronavirus and influenza and activates several modes of the immune system.
At present, there are two vaccines undergoing clinical trials, one by US-based Moderna and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and another by the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology and CanSino Biologics Inc.
There are 42 other candidates that are undergoing clinical evaluation.
Serum Institute of India and Zydus Cadila also have vaccine candidates that are in the pre-clinical trial stages