India working on developing Pan-Corona shot: Dr Renu Swarup

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Department of Biotechnology' Secretary, Renu Swarup (Photo ANI/Twitter)
Department of Biotechnology' Secretary, Renu Swarup (Photo ANI/Twitter)

New Delhi [India], August 23 (ANI): Dr Renu Swarup, Director of the Department of Biotechnology on Monday said that the Government Of India (GOI) is working on vaccines with the needed modification to fight against any strain of COVID-19 i.e Pan-Corona Vaccine.

While speaking to ANI in an exclusive interview, she said, "We are already preparing for the future, for a new vaccine, which is Pan-Corona. So that if there is any other such virus that comes in or any other such variant that comes in, the vaccine would be able to respond to all of them. So that's really our next preparedness which we've already started. We have a very strong team which is working on that."

On the effort made by the Department of Biotechnology in handling COVID-19, she said, "We have been working with the scientific community to bring solutions to fight COVID and we started the COVID consortium. In fact, the DBT was the first department that actually prepared a full roadmap and R&D roadmap for protect from the COVID-19 pandemic. In the meeting of WHO in February 2020 our roadmap was presented, and we've been following that in vaccines and therapeutics and diagnostics, creating an ecosystem."

While explaining the financial support provided by the government in vaccine manufacturing and research, she added, "Today we have one of the strongest, most robust ecosystems in the country for biopharma. It's not going to be now only for COVID, it is going to go much beyond COVID. If you look at the collected amount of financial support that we have given it's anything to the tune of over Rs 1,700 crores to 1,800 crores, it could be roughly reaching about Rs 2,000 crores. This is clearly our preparedness for India to be a global biomanufacturing global biopharma leader in the coming years."

"We have a pipeline of vaccines. India was one of the countries which have from day one supported a basket of vaccine candidates. Because of our early investment in these candidate vaccines, today you see us being ready now to roll out a number of such vaccines," she added.

On Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine, she said that mRNA vaccine's phase 2 and phase 3 trials will start soon.

"We have of course the emergency use authorization which has been given for the DNA vaccine. We have our own mRNA candidate which is likely to move into phase two, phase three, anytime now," she informed.

When asked about the 'Biological E', Dr Renu Gupta said, "By the end of September or early October Biological E is expected to apply for approval from drug regulators. "We have the biological E candidate, which is again in phase three, and we are hoping that by end of September or early October, we should be ready to go to the regulator for approval. The nasal vaccine, which is again just been given phase two, phase three approval by the regulator... that's again one of them."

Further, she said, "Such a rich pipeline if you look at the global pipeline of vaccines. India now occupies a very prominent place. We have many other candidates which are in preclinical but using this very robust ecosystem that we have set up, also gives us the confidence now that we've been able to know, while we are working on phase two, phase three, we are all also testing each of these vaccines for the variants."

On the effectiveness of vaccines against the variants like Delta or Delta plus she said, "We have good data to say that. What is its response to the Delta variants, we know what the response is." (ANI)

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