Hyderabad Apr 7: Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and vaccine companies FluGen and Bharat Biotech are developing and testing a vaccine against COVID-19 called CoroFlu.
CoroFlu will build on the backbone of FluGen”s flu vaccine candidate known as M2SR, Bharat Biotech said in a release. Based on an invention by UWMadison virologists and FluGen co-founders Yoshihiro Kawaoka and Gabriele Neumann, M2SR is a self-limiting version of the influenza virus that induces an immune response against the flu.
Kawaokas lab will insert gene sequences from SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19, into M2SR so that the new vaccine will also induce immunity against the coronavirus, it said. Raches Ella, Head of Business Development, Bharat Biotech, said the city-based firm will manufacture the vaccine, conduct clinical trials and prepare to produce almost 300 million doses of vaccine for global distribution.
Under the collaboration agreement, FluGen will transfer its existing manufacturing processes to Bharat Biotech to enable the company to scale up production and produce the vaccine for clinical trials, Rachesadded. Bhatie-uprat Biotech has commercialized 16 vaccines, including one developed against the H1N1 flu that caused the 2009 pandemic.
Refinement of the CoroFlu vaccine concept and testing in laboratory animal models at UWMadison is expected to take three to six months. Bharat Biotech will then begin production scale-up for safety and efficacy testing in humans. CoroFlu could be in human clinical trials during 2020 winter, the release said.