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Bharat biotech set to develop test vaccine for COVID-19

Date: 04 April 2020 Tags: Biotechnology

Issue

Bharat Biotech is getting into development and testing of a vaccine against COVID-19 called CoroFlu as part of an international collaboration of virologists and vaccine makers.

 

Background

CoroFlu is a one drop COVID-19 nasal vaccine built on a flu vaccine “backbone” that has been shown to be safe and well-tolerated in humans, in Phase I and Phase II clinical trials.

 

Details

  • The company said that the product is part of an international collaboration of virologists at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and vaccine companies FluGen along with Bharat Biotech.

  • CoroFlu will build on the backbone of FluGen's flu vaccine candidate known as M2SR. M2SR is a self-limiting version of the influenza virus that induces an immune response against the flu.

  • Researchers will insert gene sequences from SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19, into M2SR so that the new vaccine will also induce immunity against the coronavirus.

  • 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.

  • Four Phase I and Phase II clinical trials involving hundreds of subjects have shown the M2SR flu vaccine to be safe and well tolerated.

  • This safety profile, M2SR’s ability to induce a strong immune response, and the ability of influenza viruses to carry sequences of other viruses make M2SR an attractive option for rapidly developing CoroFlu as a safe and effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

  • M2SR is a unique form of the flu virus. It lacks a gene called M2, which restricts the virus to undergoing only a single round of replication in cells.

  • CoroFlu, like M2SR, will be delivered intranasally. This route of administration mimics the natural route of infection by coronavirus and influenza and activates several modes of the immune system.

  • Intranasal delivery is more effective at inducing multiple types of immune responses than the intramuscular shots that deliver most flu vaccines.

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