The DBT under the India chapter of the CEPI will support Indian companies aligned to the development of vaccines against the Covid-19 and other emerging infectious diseases.
“We will be providing top-up funding for companies in India who apply for the CEPI call and also give access to our larger ecosystem and networks,” DBT secretary Renu Swarup told ET. Swarup added that the funding would be given case by case and this would come from the common pool of fund that the department had assigned for vaccine development.
DBT is putting together a network of organisations globally who are working on better diagnostics to detect the infection and also possible monoclonal antibodies. Sources who are aware of the development said there was a possibility of extending the vaccine that was under development against the Nipah virus for the novel coronavirus too. Pune-based Serum Institute could work on the monoclonal antibody pathway. Its chief executive Adar Poonawala offered “no comments” when asked about it.
World Health Organization is set to lay down a roadmap to accelerate research and development to fight the disease.
“We have already developed our strategy, and this will be in line with the WHO blueprint,” Swarup said. India has sent its scientists to a WHO forum, and will present its three strategies which are partnering with CEPI for vaccines. “Understanding the disease, its reservoirs, transmission and clinical severity and then developing effective counter-measures is critical for the control of the outbreak, to reduce deaths and minimise the economic impact,” WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said.
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