Indian firm Pancea Biotech aims to make Covid-19 vaccine, 40 million doses by next year

Indian biotech firm Panacea Biotec Ltd said on Wednesday it would partner with U.S.-based Refana Inc to make a potential vaccine for COVID-19.

The collaboration aims to make more than 500 million doses of the vaccine candidate, with over 40 million doses expected to be available early next year, Panacea said in a statement to stock exchanges.

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“Under the collaboration, Panacea Biotec is advancing its response to address the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 by collaborating with Refana Inc. USA to make Covid-19 vaccine widely accessible around the world in an equitable manner through a joint venture company to be based in Ireland,” Panacea Biotec said in a press release.

Both Panacea and Refana will undertake sales and distribution of the vaccine in their respective territories, it said.

Panacea’s shares jumped 20% in morning trading on India’s National Stock Exchange after the news.

As the cases surge within the country, healthcare professionals are experimenting with many drugs to battle a load of coronavirus infections. During a recent development, Bharat Serum and Vaccines Limited (BSVL) received ready approval from the drug regulatory board to kickstart clinical trials for one among its drugs, “Ulinastatin” for coronavirus treatment. The drug, which is traditionally accustomed to treat conditions like sepsis and pancreatitis is being repurposed to treat COVID-19 patients showing mild to moderate symptoms. In step with reports, the primary patient shall be enrolled within the month of July, with trials to be held in 8-12 centres across the country. The firm has said that it’ll take 6-8 months for the info from the clinical study to be tabulated.

“The clinical trials will be conducted in Covid-19 patients who are serious and are being hospitalised because of ARDS. Identifying effective antiviral agents and therapies to combat underlying pathology of COVID-19 is the need of the hour,” BSVL MD and CEO Sanjiv Navangul told PTI.

Patients with severe coronavirus infection can develop fatal lung damage from a cytokine storm due to an increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines. Ulinastatin could combat underlying inflammatory conditions in Covid-19 patients experiencing mild-to-moderate ARDS, BSVL said.

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