Isolation pods, deployable hospitals, antibody gel: India’s tools to tackle pandemic
Among various treatment technologies being evaluated by the Centre’s Covid 19 task force are deployable or mobile hospitals for Covid-19 treatment; a DNA vaccine against the major viral membrane protein responsible for the cell entry of the novel coronavirus; development of antibodies and an antibody gel to inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus at the point of entry.
These are in various stages of research and development according to National Research Development Corporation’s Compendium of Indian Technologies for combating Covid-19 released on Wednesday. As far as vaccines are concerned, experts said these will take at least a year to be developed.
The Compendium was launched by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research which has information on 200 Covid-19 technologies, ongoing research and technologies already available for commercialisation. Most of these technologies are proof-of-concept (POC) tested and can help the entrepreneurs to take the product to market faster as they do not have to reinvent the wheel, a statement issued by the Ministry of Science and Technology said.
Among ongoing research on Covid-19 treatments is raw materials for covid 19 drug being developed by National Chemical Laboratory which will soon be handed over to Department of Pharmaceuticals. Deployable hospital is already in development stage. Modulus a start up in Indian Institute of Technology, Madras research park which has signed an MoU with Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Trivandrum for developing the technology.
Zydus Cadila which is developing the viral membrane protein vaccine also has a second vaccine approach dealing with development of a live attenuated recombinant measles virus vectored vaccine against Covid-19. Bharat Biotech is developing an intranasal vaccine called ‘CoroFlu’ which after clinical trials, the company is likely to produce around 300 million doses of vaccine for global distribution according to the compendium.
Indian Immunologicals Limited is also developing a live attenuated severe acute respiratory syndrome vaccine which has been found to be effective in Golden Syrian Hamsters.
“The technology looks promising for developing a vaccine for prophylactic, active, single dose immunization against coronavirus in humans, with an enhanced safety profile,” the compendium states.
Serum Institute of India in collaboration with US-based Codagenix is developing a vaccine which is now in animal testing phase.
“The DNA vaccine involves giving a DNA which will produce certain proteins which will help protect against the infection. No antigen will be given. The second measles virus vectored vaccine against covid 19 is nothing but a recombinant vaccine which will have a combination of measles RNA with SARS-CoV-2 virus RNA put into the measles virus. We already know the measles vaccine is effective.,” said Dr Shobha Broor, former head of the department of virology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
“The Serum Institute vaccine is also a recombinant vaccine. I am not aware of the details of other vaccines being developed. As far as I know these are all in development stage. They will go through pre-clinical trials in animals and then phase 1 trials in humans for safety and then phase 2 and 3. Trials may be expedited but normally it takes more than a year for all these processes,” added Dr Broor.
Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) is developing isolation pods for Covid-19 patients to help them travel safely. A cover is attached with a pod that restricts the patient from having contact with others. The over will be completely sterilized. A light bed is also arranged on the isolation pod according to ministry.