Three Indian drug makers, and a Netherlands-based firm which has a majority of its plants in the country, are gearing up to make antiviral drug remdesivir, according to a report by the Business Standard. Remdesivir is under consideration for treatment of COVID-19 patients.
These companies — Cipla, Hetero Labs, Jubilant LifeSciences and Dutch firm Mylan — have signed licensing pacts with United States-based Gilead.
Under the licensing agreements, the companies have the right to receive a technology transfer of the Gilead manufacturing process for remdesivir to enable them to scale up production more quickly.
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.
The report cites a Mylan India spokesperson confirming that the company would make the drug at its Indian plants. Almost half of Mylan’s manufacturing facilities — 21 plants across seven states — are in India.
Jubilant’s Chairman Shyam S Bhartia and Co-chairman Hari S Bhartia told the newspaper that they are “monitoring the clinical trials and regulatory approvals very closely and would be ready to launch the drug shortly after the required approvals.”
“We also plan to produce the drug’s API in-house, helping its cost effectiveness and consistent availability,” they added.Click here for Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the novel coronavirus pandemic