Recently, Adar Poonawalla, Chief Executive Officer of the Pune-based Serum Institute of India, stated that SII has associated with the US-based biotechnology company Codagenix and curated an influenza which is closest to the COVID-19.
A laboratory-made synthetic virus was used for developing the SSI-Codagenix candidate vaccine. It is seen as a major breakthrough as it could steadily reduce the time taken to build against the virus. The vaccine-virus strain is similar to the original virus and can develop a robust immune response.
As per Poonawalla, trials of the vaccine on humans are expected to start by September-October this year. The primary objective is to develop the vaccine and make it available to masses at the earliest to address the novel coronavirus outbreak. Animal trials on mice and primates has already started, which is quite fruitful.
Through the nationwide lockdown, the country is prevented from a future catastrophe. The upcoming months are highly critical for India. It is essential for strengthening the healthcare sector to combat the pandemic. Poonawalla has laid emphasis on the term ‘herd immunity’ that is been making rounds since the initial phases of the pandemic.
“In simple terms, it is when most of the population develops immunity against the disease by way of vaccination or immunization caused by acquiring the disease and developing anti-bodies via exposures in the past. In order for it to be implemented, we need to have a efficacious vaccine available for mass use; since the data for relapse is insignificant at the moment, we cannot be dependent on developing herd immunity at this stage.” said Poonawalla.
He suggested that compulsory implementation of social distancing norms is necessary even after the lockdown as a precautionary measure. In India, till now over 23 thousand corona positive cases, 4 thousand cured patients and 723 fatalities are reported.