Switzerland’s ExcellGene SA has announced its role in the recently approved consortium funding through the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) for co-developing a variant-proof coronavirus vaccine with India’s Bharat Biotech.
The consortium is developing or designing a new vaccine concept that confers highly cross-reactive protection against numerous SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern as well as other betacoronaviruses.
Betacoronaviruses are one of the four genera of coronaviruses — alpha, beta, gamma and delta. The natural reservoirs for betacoronaviruses are bats and rodents. There have been multiple betacoronavirus outbreaks in humans since the early 2000s.
Bharat Biotech Chairman and MD Krishna Ella said: “The global threat of SARS-CoV-2 is continuing with new infections over and over again, irrespective of prior infections or vaccinations. Thus, more applied research has to be done, both in laboratories like those of Prof. Triccas, and in a company like ExcellGene, that can provide entirely new antigen concepts that combine insights into SARS-CoV-2 gained over the last two and a half years.”
Also Read: At 2,135, daily Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra spike by 172%, 12 die
ExcellGene will produce complex chimeric spike antigens using its engineered CHOExpress cell-based technology. Along with Bharat Biotech, and Jamie Triccas of the Sydney Institute for Infectious Diseases and his team at the University of Sydney, Australia, ExcellGene will generate and screen a large and diverse library of chimeric spike proteins to identify highly cross-reactive antigen structures that recall past and possibly future variants. Earlier, ExcellGene had conducted research in an EU-Horizon 2020 funded project on an Ebola candidate antigen molecule that resulted in sterilising immunity in pre-clinical challenge models.
The award to the consortium is the latest that CEPI made under its $200-million programme to advance the development of vaccines that would provide broad protection against Sars-CoV-2 variants and also other betacoronaviruses. It has so far funded nine such projects.
Under this initiative, CEPI will provide up to $19.3 million in funding to develop a “variant-proof” SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate for phase I clinical trials.
Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.
As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.
Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.