A research team from Mumbai’s Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), Matunga, received a grant of US $100,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop the first ever eco-friendly nanovaccine for nasal immunisation as part of the foundations’ Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) initiative.
The research team from the Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT) along with their vice chancellor GD Yadav (centre).
Vandana Patravale, professor at ICT was chosen for the grant from over 2,700 applications.
Along with her team of two doctoral students, Swati Vyas and Priyanka Prabhu, Patravale conceptualised the vaccine during an ongoing research project concerning detection of Brucellosis, a highly contagious bacterial infection transmitted from animals to humans by ingestion of non-sterilised animal products, direct contact with an infected animal, or inhalation of aerosols.
There is no vaccination available right now to protect humans from Brucellosis.
“We have 18 months to make and test the vaccine. The highlight of the vaccine is that it is based on naturally derived components and will use an eco-friendly process, eliminating the use of hazardous organic solvents,” said Vyas.
The nanovaccine aims to grant long term immunity to humans and livestock population against Brucellosis, and can be comfortably injected through the nose.
“The vaccines available at present are administered invasively to animals causing pain and discomfort. The nanovaccine, administered nasally, will provide a painless solution and has the potential to translate into a mass vaccination campaign against Brucellosis,” said Patravale.
The researchers are also working to make the vaccine largely affordable.
Officials at the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation did not reply to an email sent by this newspaper.
GD Yadav, the vice chancellor of ICT, said, “This is the third award grant the institute has received. Having a researchoriented environment plays an important role in encouraging such endeavours. I'm thankful to the foundation for recognising the researchers’ hard work.”