May 18, 2022

Photo Credits: Reuters

Bengaluru start-up company producing Covid-19 vaccine with heat tolerance

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A Bengaluru based-start-up, nurtured from Indian Institute of Science (IISc) will be producing a Covid-19 vaccine, which, can be effectively stored even at 37 degree Celsius, which will be quite a big advantage for India as it is devoid of adequate facilities for cold chain storage.

Biophysicist Raghavan Varadarjan, leading the start-up company named Mynvax, mentioned to Deccan Herald, “All (Covid) vaccine candidates in clinical trials currently require refrigerated temperatures of at least four degrees. Ours would not, in principle.”

He added, “For Covid-19, no one has shown equivalent data of the temperature. We have exposed it to much higher temperatures than 37 degrees for shorter periods of time, and it was okay.”

The vaccine, heat-tolerant, can also be subjected to endure heat as high as 70C for  period of 16 hours. When compared with AstraZeneca and Oxford’s Covishield vaccine, which is being manufactured by Pune’s Serum Institute, requires refrigeration at 2-8 degrees.

The state of Karnataka has 2,900 cold chain points.

Every year, vaccines are provided for 10.52 lakh children who come under the age category of 16 years as a part of routine immunisation programmes, which is exclusive of the pregnant women.

However, with Covid-19 infections everywhere, the state would need to develop vaccines for the state’s total population of 7.07 crore.

The team of Mynvax has conducted extensive trials on the mice and guinea pigs, which has shown positive results. Presently, the trials are in the run for hamsters, hoping that the animal trials to be finished by December. The final formulation will then be pushed for other protocols like process development, animal safety and toxicity studies and also, followed by clinical trials.

Varadarajan revealed to Deccan Herald, IISc did provide some funds, but the majority is shelved in by Mynvax’s own funds.

Regarding the clinical trials, Varadrajan answered that funding of Rs. 15 crore is required for initiating human clinical trials, and if everything turns out as planned, vaccine will be launched by mid-2022.

He said, “Once we are able to secure sufficient funding, we will advance it into clinical testing. Right now, we have not yet received the funding to take it forward.”

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