Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech claims to be developing world’s first vaccine for Zika virus, which has been declared as public health emergency by the World Health Organisation.
The vaccines and bio-therapeutic manufacturer announced that it has filed global patents for both inactivated and recombinant vaccines. The company said it is working on ZIKAVAC vaccines for Zika infection.
“On Zika, we are probably the first vaccine company in the world to file a vaccine candidate patent about nine months ago,” said Dr. Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharat Biotech Ltd.
Ella said the pre-clinical trials for the vaccine will start in a week or two.
The company, which claims to be working on the vaccine for one-and-half years, has informed both the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the government of India about the status of its project.
Zika Virus, which is fast -spreading in Brazil and America, is carried from person to person by mosquitoes.
It has been linked to birth defects and deaths in newborns in Brazil. The WHO has warned that it can also affect countries like India. Recently, a case of virus transmitted through sex has been reported in U.S.
The Hyderabad based company has not developed one but two candidate vaccines using a imported live Zika virus. However, they are yet to be tried on animals and humans.
Dr Ella has sought direct intervention from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to fast-track the vaccine’s development and its delivery, cutting through the red tape of regulatory clearances.
He pointed out that the vaccine can help countries such as Brazil, a fellow member of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) group, and pave way for what he called “vaccine diplomacy.”
He said,”In best case scenario, our company can make one million doses of the vaccine in four months.”