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Last Updated : Sep 15, 2020 06:35 PM IST | Source: PTI

Aurobindo Pharma ties up with BIRAC to develop COVID-19 vaccine

Aurobindo Pharma said it is developing a vaccine for COVID-19 through its wholly-owned US subsidiary, Auro Vaccines.

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Aurobindo Pharma on Tuesday announced collaboration with the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), set up by the Department of Biotechnology for the development of COVID-19 vaccine.

BIRAC has facilitated the establishment of 'the r-VSV vaccine' manufacturing platform for the first time in India by supporting Aurobindo Pharma’s COVID-19 vaccine development, the company said in a regulatory filing.

Aurobindo Pharma said it is developing a vaccine for COVID-19 through its wholly-owned US subsidiary, Auro Vaccines.

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The vaccine candidate is based on a proprietary vaccine delivery platform of the company.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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"Aurobindo is in the process of setting up a state-of-art manufacturing facility for viral vaccineswhich will be used to produce the COVID-19 vaccine and other viral vaccines. The plant will comply with global standards. The company’s COVID-19 vaccine development is going as per plan,” the filing added.

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Commenting on the collaboration, Aurobindo Pharma Managing Director N Govindarajan said, "It is a matter of immense pride that BIRAC has placed its trust on our vaccine capabilities. The senior leadership of Aurobindo and Auro Vaccines has extensive experience in development, production and commercialization of several vaccines.”

Department of Biotechnology Secretary and BIRAC Chairperson Renu Swarup said the partnership with Aurobindo is to serve the country’s need for a vaccine to fight this pandemic.

"The government is focussed on creating an ecosystem that nurtures and encourages new product innovation to address the most relevant issues to our society,” Swarup added.

Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute, Zydus Cadila, Panacea Biotec, Indian Immunologicals, Mynvax and Biological E are among the pharma firms in India working on the coronavirus vaccine.

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First Published on Sep 15, 2020 06:35 pm
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