Hyderabad Current Affairs - 2020

ICMR fast-tracking efforts to launch ‘COVAXIN’ for public use by 15th August

In partnership with Hyderabad based Bharat Biotech, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has selected 12 institutes for the Phase-I and Phase-II clinical trials of the first indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine BBV152 (commonly known as COVAXIN).

After successful completion of human clinical trials, the ICMR has set a target to launch the COVAXIN for the public health uses, latest by August 15, this was reported in the media as per a letter by ICMR to the 12 selected institutes.

Background

Earlier this week, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has given approval for Phase I and Phase II human clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine ‘COVAXIN’. In association with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV) Pune, COVAXIN is developed by Hyderabad based vaccine & bio-therapeutics manufacturer-Bharat Biotech.  At NIV Pune, the strain of SARS-CoV-2 was isolated before being transferred to Bharat Biotech. The vaccine is developed at the high containment facility of Bharat Biotech- BSL-3 (Bio Safety Level 3).

COVAXIN is the first indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine to be approved for Human Clinical Trials.

Zydus Healthcare gets DCGI nod for Human Trials

On 2nd July 2020, the DCGI of India has given permission to Ahmedabad based Cadila Healthcare Limited (commonly known as Zydus Healthcare) for the human clinical trials of its indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine.

RMRC Dibrugarh becomes the 4th Laboratory in India to isolate COVID-19 Virus Strain

The Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR’s) regional centre at Assam’s Dibrugarh- Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC) has successfully able to isolate the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus strain. This success will open up avenues to conduct COVID-19 related studies such as from the development of a potential vaccine to making other uses of cultures of the SARS-COV-2 for the development of therapeutic antibodies, testing effectiveness against disinfectants etc.

Type of the Strain Isolated

There are 2 types of strains of the novel Coronavirus: L type and S type. RMRC scientists have confirmed that they have isolated the L-type strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The S type strain has slowly been disappearing from across the world.

Type of Mutation of the isolated Strain

The virus strain isolated is of A2a mutation type. The A2a mutation type is the most dominant type of Novel Coronavirus. Until the month of April 2020, 10 different types of mutation of the virus have been identified by scientists across the world.

Other Indian Laboratories to Isolate the Strain

RMRC  Dibrugarh is the 4th laboratory in India to isolate the cell of the Novel Coronavirus. It is the 3rd Government Laboratory to do so after National Institute of Virology (NIV) Pune and CSIR’s Hyderabad based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology. Hyderabad based Bharat Biotech to date is the only private laboratory in India to have isolated the strain of the virus.