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BusinessBharat Biotech’s Covaxin to boost immune response with ViroVax adjuvant  

Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin to boost immune response with ViroVax adjuvant  

Published: 5th Oct 2020 12:38 pm

Hyderabad: Hyderabad-based vaccines manufacturer Bharat Biotech has announced its novel Coronavirus vaccine Covaxin approved for human trials, will use adjuvant Alhydroxiquim-II to boost immune response and longer lasting immunity. The technology is being used under this licensing agreement with Kansas-based ViroVax.

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According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an adjuvant is an ingredient used in some vaccines that helps create a stronger immune response in people receiving the vaccine. In other words, adjuvants help vaccines work better.

Covaxin is an inactivated vaccine derived from a strain of SARS-CoV-2 virus, isolated at the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, an Indian virology research institute. The inactivated virus is formulated with ViroVax’s adjuvant to produce the vaccine candidate.

Bharat Biotech is currently conducting Phase II human trials of Covaxin after receiving approval from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI).

Dr Krishna Ella, CMD of Bharat Biotech, said, “There is a critical need for development and availability of adjuvants that elucidate mechanisms of action inducing greater antibody responses to vaccine antigens, thus resulting in long-term protection against pathogens.”

Adjuvants also enhance the sustainability of the global vaccine supply on account of their antigen-sparing effect.

Dr Ella further added, “The widely used adjuvant Aluminium hydroxide in the development of SARS CoV-2 vaccines is known to induce a Th2 based response (used for eradication of extracellular parasites and bacterial infection). The Th2 based response has a theoretical risk of vaccine associated enhanced respiratory diseases. We have used Imidazoquinoline class of adjuvants (TLR7/8 agonists), which are known to induce Th1 based response which further reduces the risk of ADE (Anti-Body Dependent Enhancement).”

In our pre-clinical studies and animal challenge models (Syrian Hamster and Rhesus Macaques) we have shown that Covaxin induced Th1 based response due to the use of Algel-IMDG (chemisorbed imidazoquinoline onto the aluminium hydroxide gel) as an adjuvant.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, ViroVax also received supplemental funding for the development of subunit vaccine constructs for the prevention of Covid-19, and for the discovery and development of therapeutics for treating Covid-19.

ViroVax is evaluating a subunit vaccine candidate and has identified potential antiviral therapeutics. It is currently in the process of testing the efficacy of these compounds.

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