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CSIR sanctions project to develop human monoclonal antibodies as therapy for COVID-19 infections

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The project, led by Bharat Biotech, brings together academia – National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), Pune and Indian Institute of Technology, Indore and industry – PredOmix Technologies, Gurugram in a collaborative mode for a public health emergency

Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) under its flagship programme NMITLI has sanctioned a project to develop human monoclonal antibodies as therapy for COVID-19 infections.

The project, led by Bharat Biotech, brings together academia – National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), Pune and Indian Institute of Technology, Indore and industry – PredOmix Technologies, Gurugram in a collaborative mode for a public health emergency.

Although efforts are underway for the development of drugs and vaccines for controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, these are slow and expensive processes with uncertainties. Therefore, an alternate therapeutic regimen for early deployment is critical.

The present project aims at such an alternate therapeutic regimen by generating highly effective and specific human monoclonal antibodies that are capable of neutralising the SARS-CoV2 virus. Such virus-neutralising antibodies can block the spread of infection by binding to the virus and rendering it ineffective. Monoclonal anti-body therapy is a highly effective and safe method.

Expressing his happiness on receiving CSIR-NMITLI approval of the project, Dr Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharat Biotech, said, “The purpose of vaccination is to protect the healthy against future infections and it alone may not provide the complete solution. We feel the monoclonal antibody therapy will provide a viable option.

“The question is of how to treat those individuals who are already infected? Plus, we do not yet know how effective an anti-SARS-CoV2 vaccine will be in the elderly people and those with co-morbidities. Given the large number of Indians suffering from hypertension, diabetes and heart diseases, this becomes an important issue,” Dr Ella added.

Talking about the novel antibodies approach to deal with COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Ella stated, “While both Israel and The Netherlands have recently announced the development of virus-neutralising antibodies, our approach is to develop a powerful cocktail of neutralising antibodies that can also simultaneously block mutational variants of the virus. We are fast-tracking the development process to make the antibodies available within the next six months and thus improve the treatment efficacy.”

Bharat Biotech has excelled in identifying potential viral threats, and has successfully developed 10 different viral vaccines. As a pandemic vaccines frontrunner, the company has delivered more than five billion doses of viral vaccines, including anti-rabies vaccines.

As an innovative company, Bharat Biotech continues to solve public health and virulent disease burden with new vaccines and therapeutic approaches, on its own, and through public-private partnerships.

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