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IIT Guwahati and Hester Biosciences join hands to develop vaccine against COVID-19

Image: Hester Twitter

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati is collaborating with Hester Biosciences to work on the vaccine development against COVID-19. 

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

In a regulatory filing, the Ahmedabad-based pharmaceutical company said, 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 statement added that 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 IIT Guwahati team is headed by Sachin Kumar, Associate Professor, Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering. 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. 

“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,”  Sachin Kumar was quoted in the statement. 

Hester Biosciences MD & CEO Rajiv Gandhi said, “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.”

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