IIT-G collaborates with Hester Biosciences Limited to develop a vaccine against COVID-19:

Guwahati, April 29: IIT-G with Hester Biosciences to develop a Vaccine. Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati (IIT-G) is collaborating with Hester Biosciences Limited – a pharmaceutical company based in Ahmedabad in Gujarat, to work on vaccine development against COVID-19.

The agreement between the two parties was signed on April 15.

In a press release issued by IIT-G said that the vaccine will be based on recombinant avian paramyxovirus based vector platform. The recombinant avian paramyxovirus-1 will be used to express the immunogenic protein of SARS-CoV-2.

The recombinant avian paramyxovirus-1 expressing the SARS-CoV-2 protein could be used as a vaccine candidate for further study.

The avian paramyxovirus-1 has been explored as a vaccine vector for various animals and human pathogens. The avian paramyxovirus-1 has been used to express the immunogenic protein of human pathogens such as HIV, avian influenza virus, human parainfluenza virus, SARS-CoV. Similarly, it has also been explored as a vaccine vector for animal pathogens such as infectious bursal disease virus, infectious laryngotracheitis virus, bovine herpes virus, Nipah virus, etc.

The avian paramyxovirus-1 has been explored as a vaccine vector for various animals and human pathogens

The team at IIT-G is headed by Dr. Sachin Kumar, Associate Professor, Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, and the team has generated the recombinant avian paramyxovirus-1 based vaccine flatform for Classical Swine Fever and Japanese encephalitis. The role of the Institute is to produce the recombinant vaccine candidate.

Talking about the vaccine for COVID-19, Dr. Sachin Kumar, Associate Professor, Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, IIT-G said that – “It is too early to comment on the efficacy and immunogenicity of the vaccine, however, we will be able to reveal more details about this vaccine after the results of animal studies are obtained.”

Rajiv Gandhi, CEO and MD of Hester Biosciences Limited said that – “In the current pandemic situation of COVID-19, the world is looking at developing preventive and curative measures to safeguard mankind. IITG & Hester have collaborated to develop and manufacture a recombinant vaccine against COVID-19 disease as a preventive measure. Hester’s involvement would be from master seed development up to release of the commercial vaccine.”

He further said that – “Hester has 23 years of experience in vaccine manufacturing on the veterinary side. It manufactures vaccines by using fermentation, tissue culture, continuous cell line, and chick embryo origin methods. Hester is also currently working towards developing next-generation recombinant poultry vaccines. Being in veterinary vaccine manufacturing, as well as working towards developing recombinant vaccines, Hester has a fairly good understanding and the capability to get into human vaccines, specifically into a vaccine against the COVID-19 disease.”

IIT-G and Hester Biosciences Limited expect the vaccine to be ready by the end of this year to start animal studies. The work is currently in its early stage of development.

Prof. T. G. Sitharam, Director, IIT-G is hopeful that the outcome of this important collaboration will be a win-win situation for the country and will lead to breakthrough results in the prevention of COVID-19 as well as provide leads for vaccine developments against other diseases as well in immediate future.