At a time when the development and distribution of an effective vaccine against COVID-19 pandemic is paramount to save humanity, the managing directors of Wockhardt Ltd and RPG Life Sciences Ltd have emphasised the need for innovation in the pharmaceutical industry to drive growth.
At IMC Indo-US Partnership Vision Summit, Yugal Sikri, MD of RPG Life Sciences and Murtaza Khorakiwala, MD of Wockhardt, said that innovation is the lifeblood of the pharmaceutical industry and is extremely important to drive growth in the sector.
Murtaza Khorakiwala said that innovation in collaborations between India and the US is very important to find solutions for the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also said that Wockhardt is currently working on developing novel antibiotics to address antibiotics resistance as a number of diseases have become resistant to them.
Khorakiwala said there is an urgent need to develop new antibiotics to avoid a pandemic-like scenario in the future.
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.
Yugal Sikri also emphasised the importance of universal health coverage for India and said that the country should use innovation to provide universal healthcare to its citizens.Sikri also stressed on the importance of India's partnership with the US to bring about innovation in the country's healthcare system.