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Coronavirus pandemic: COVID-19 test kit maker Mylab gets funding from Adar Poonawalla, Abhijit Pawar

The Pune-based company to deploy the funds to scale up operations and quicken delivery of testing kits for COVID-19.

April 02, 2020 / 05:26 PM IST

Mylab Discovery Solutions, the first Indian company to get commercial approval to supply COVID-19 test kits, on April 2 said it received funding from Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India, and Abhijit Pawar, Chairman of AP Globale (APG).

The company didn't disclose details like the quantum of funds.

The Pune-based company said it will deploy the funds to scale up operations and quicken delivery of testing kits for COVID-19.

“The investment towards Mylab will enable them to build infrastructure and expand capabilities further,” said Adar Poonawalla, CEO, Serum Institute of India.

“In the next few weeks we will be ramping up the production of the COVID-19 testing kits, taking from 1.5 lakh tests to 20 lakh tests per week. The shortage of testing kits will come to an end in a month or two,” Poonawalla noted.

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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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“We are honoured to stand by our prime minister and the government, while supporting them during these trying times. This partnership will ensure we do our bit to help in this time of crisis," said Abhijit Pawar of APG. The group is into education and impact investing. Pawar also heads Pune-based Sakal Media Group.

Mylab's time-saving testing kit, named Mylab PathoDetect COVID-19 Qualitative PCR kit, was developed within six weeks of the outbreak.

The kit was approved by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) after Indian Council of Medical Research's evaluation.

“This will help Mylabs create a world class organisation, which will help India become a leader in molecular diagnostics,’’ said Sujit Jain, Director, Mylab.

In 2019, Mylab became India’s first FDA (CDSCO) approved manufacturer for RT-PCR-based molecular diagnostic kits for detection and quantification of HIV, HBV and HCV. The company's manufacturing facility, approved by the CDSCO, is compliant with MDR 2017 regulation for manufacturing medical device of Class A,B,C and D and ISO 13485: 2016 certification.

Hitesh Jain, Managing Partner, Parinam Law Associates, was the legal advisory for the deal partnership.
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: Apr 2, 2020 05:26 pm

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