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Kiran Mazumdar Shaw of Biocon tests positive for COVID-19

Biocon is one of the companies looking to create a vaccine to fight COVID-19

August 18, 2020 / 11:27 AM IST
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson, Biocon.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson, Biocon.


Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairperson and Managing Director of Biocon, tweeted on August 17 that she has tested positive for novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. “I have added to the Covid count by testing positive.  Mild symptoms n I hope it stays that way (sic),” the billionaire entrepreneur tweeted.

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor replied to Mazumdar's tweet with: "So sorry to hear this. We need you hale & hearty soon! Be well my friend."

Billionaire Anand Mahindra also sent his good wishes on Twitter to Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw. He said: I'm not worried Kiran. Your energy & positivity is more infectious than the virus.

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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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Biocon is one of the foremost companies in India looking to develop a vaccine to fight COVID-19. In July, regulator the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) allowed it to market a repurposed injection, Itolizumab, which was originally launched in 2013 for treating chronic plaque psoriasis.

The drug, better known by its brand name ALZUMAb, is being used by numerous doctors and over 150 people had recovered from coronavirus until July 13.

Shaw, as one of the leaders of the pharma sector globally, has been keeping pace as the world gets closer to a vaccine.

Recently, Shaw has questioned claims of Russia developing the world's first vaccine against COVID-19, citing absence of clinical trials data and "more advanced" programmes elsewhere.

Referring to the novel coronavirus vaccine developed by Moscow-based Gamaleya National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology, Mazumdar-Shaw said that the world had not seen any data from the vaccine candidate’s phase-I and phase-II human trials.

"If launching a vaccine prior to completion of Phase-III trials is acceptable to Russia, well so be it," Mazumdar-Shaw had told news agency PTI.

Earlier, Shaw said that India needs to draw up its immunisation strategy now itself on the administration of vaccine for COVID-19 on the population when it comes out.

"Vaccine is anybody's guess. Right from the end of this year to the middle of next year is the prediction," the Executive Chairperson of the city-headquartered biopharmaceuticals major Biocon Ltd said on the time-frame vis-a-vis its availability.

Shaw joins the list of prominent persons in the state who have contracted the infection including Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, former chief minister Siddaramaiah and Health Minister Sriramulu.

Karnataka on August 17 reported 6,317 new COVID-19 cases.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Aug 18, 2020 12:08 am

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