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Cipla gets into COVID-19 testing, with the launch of antibody test kits

The company has partnered with KARWA under the technology transfer from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

October 28, 2020 / 08:21 PM IST
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Cipla on October 28 announced the commercialisation of antibody detection kits for COVID-19 in India.

The company has partnered with KARWA under technology transfer from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
As part of this collaborative effort, Cipla will be responsible for the marketing and distribution of the SARS CoV-2-IgG antibody detection ELISA that will be manufactured by KARWA.

ICMR has provided the requisite technological knowhow and process for developing the test kits to approved manufacturers.

The product will be marketed under the brand name ‘ELIFast’. Cipla’s expansive distribution network will help in ensuring seamless supply of kits across the country. Supply will be undertaken through channels approved by ICMR to ensure equitable access.
IgG antibody tests identify the immune status of individuals to the COVID-19 infection.

ICMR has recommended these tests for conducting sero-surveillance. The latter may help in determining the burden of COVID-19 at the community level and monitor trends in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
ELIfast has been validated and approved by ICMR and the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune. It is found to have specificity and sensitivity of 99.33 percent and 92 percent, respectively. The kit is user friendly with a simple protocol, ready-to-use reagents and is compatible with common ELISA equipment.

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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Before Cipla, Zydus Cadila has been into mass scale production and distribution of the ELISA antibody test kits.

Viswanath Pilla
Viswanath Pilla is a business journalist with 14 years of reporting experience. Based in Mumbai, Pilla covers pharma, healthcare and infrastructure sectors for Moneycontrol.
first published: Oct 28, 2020 06:38 pm