India-US collaboration in the health sector is in the spotlight as the Central Drug Authority this week approved two more Covid vaccines Corbevax and Covovax and antiviral drug Molnupiravir for use in India.
Taranjit Singh Sandhu, India’s Ambassador to the US, in a tweet described it as a model of India-US healthcare collaboration. "Models of what India-United States healthcare collaboration can achieve for global good!" Sandhu said.
Indian companies working with Texas Children’s, Baylor College of Medicine’s National School of Tropical Medicine; Dr. Peter Hotez, Prof and Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor and Co-Director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development; NovaVax; Merck and Ridgeback Bio, tweeted the Indian diplomat.
During his visit to Houston in October, Sandhu had met Professor Hotez and held discussions on this issue. During his visit to Houston in October, Sandhu had met Professor Hotez and held discussions on this issue.
In June this year, the ambassador visited the Novavax facility in Maryland. He also spoke to the CEO of Sanisure Thomas Hook. Sanisure supplies components for the SII – Novavax collaboration.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
These have been part of a continuous outreach that the ambassador had with vaccine manufacturers and pharma companies. Corbevax, a protein sub-unit COVID-19 vaccine, whose technology was created and engineered in collaboration with Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).
The vaccine is being launched in India with other underserved countries to follow, Texas Children’s Hospital said in a statement. "This announcement is an important first step in vaccinating the world and halting the pandemic. Our vaccine technology offers a path to address an unfolding humanitarian crisis, namely the vulnerability the low- and middle-income countries face against the delta variant, Hotez said.
"Widespread and global vaccination with our Texas Children’s-Baylor-BE vaccine would also forestall the emergence of new variants. We have previously missed that opportunity for the alpha and delta variant. Now is our chance to prevent a new global wave from what might follow, he said.
Dubbed the world’s COVID-19 vaccine, it uses a traditional recombinant protein-based technology that will enable its production at large scales making it widely accessible to inoculate the global population, the statement said.
Corbevax after completing two Phase III clinical trials involving more than 3,000 subjects was found to be safe, well tolerated and immunogenic.
It demonstrated superior immune response in comparison with Covishield vaccine when assessed for Neutralising Antibody (nAb) Geometric Mean Titers (GMT) against the Ancestral-Wuhan strain and the globally dominant Delta variant.Corbevax vaccination also generated significant Th1 skewed cellular immune response. Corbevax vaccination also generated significant Th1 skewed cellular immune response.