Science & Tech Current Affairs

Science & Technology Current Affairs 2019-2020 category comprises current affairs with all important national / international updates in science and tech and events for the year 2019-2020 for UPSC, States, Civil services, SSC and other competitive examinations of India and States.

Zydus Healthcare’s COVID-19 vaccine gets DCGI approval for Human Clinical Trials

On 2nd July 2020, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has given approval for human clinical trials to Ahmedabad based Cadila Healthcare Limited (Zydus Healthcare). The permission is for the Phase-I and Phase-II clinical trials of the vaccine.

Zydus Healthcare’s COVID-19 vaccine become the 2nd Indigenously developed vaccine to get the permission of the DCGI for human clinical trials after Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN. The human clinical trials for the vaccine are expected to be completed in three months as per media reports.

Success during Clinical Trials on Animals

The approval for the human clinical trials was given by the DCGI based on the recommendation made by the COVID-19 Subject Expert Committee. The Subject Expert Committee recommendation was on the basis of the data provided to the DCGI by Zydus Healthcare on the success of their COVID-19 vaccine during clinical trials on the animals.

With respect to safety and immunogenicity, the potential novel coronavirus vaccine developed by the Zydus Healthcare was found to be successful during animal studies, this was informed by the Drug Controller General of India Dr. V.G. Somani.

Zydus Healthcare

Headquartered in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad, Zydus Healthcare is one of the leading manufacturers of generic drugs in India. It was founded in the year 1952 by Ramanbhai Patel. The company is also known as Cadila Healthcare Limited or Zydus Cadila Healthcare Limited.

Drug Discovery Hackathon 2020 launched

For supporting the drug discovery process, a national initiative called Drug Discovery Hackathon 2020 was launched on 2nd July 2020. The initiative was launched by Ramesh Pokhriyal (Union Human Resource Development Minister) and Dr. Harsh Vardhan (Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare and Science and Technology).

Objective of the Hackathon

The objective of the hackathon is to identify drug candidates for the COVID-19 virus through computational methods. Further the findings from the hackathon for chemical synthesis and biological testing.

About the Hackathon

Any professional, researchers, faculty, and students can participate from across the globe. The primary focus during the hackathon will be to focus on the computational aspects of the discovery of drugs. This will be done on three tracks:

  • Track 1: From an existing database, identifying computational modeling for drug design. The identified modeling must provide resistance or inhibit the COVID-19 virus
  • Track 2: Using data analytics, new tools and algorithms will be developed. Further by using machine learning or artificial intelligence algorithms, predict a drug-like compound that will have the least toxicity and higher selectivity and specificity.
  • Track 3: Ambitious and exploratory approaches that will lead to a novel ground-breaking projects in this field. Working on out of the box problems.

The Hackathon will help in accelerating the drug discovery process in India by establishing a new model. The hackathon will have three phases: each of the phases will be of 3 months each. The Drug Discovery Hackathon will be completed by April-May 2021.

Through the Tracks above, at the end of Phase 3, the predicted drug-like compound will be taken forward at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and other leading organizations in the country for experimental testing.