The Covid-19 pandemic has not just battered the healthcare sector, but it has also resulted in a financial crisis across sectors.
Syntax, a startup incubated by the Society of Innovation and Development (SID) at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), is trying to develop a vaccine that could be effective for a large number of strains, according to the institute’s website.
IISc’s website also said that the project requires around Rs 15 crore to carry out further studies like creating a first generation vaccine candidate in four months, production technology in the next eight months, and initiate a phase-1 human clinical trial in 12 months.
“The goal is to develop a rapidly producible vaccine for protection to front-line health workers, senior citizens, and individuals with comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” IISc said.
With critical, catalytic funding and support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a number of spike protein derivatives have been designed and characterized at IISc.
“These are being tested in animal models through the IISc incubated start-up, Mynvax. The design which shows the best results in animals will be advanced to the development of production technology, safety, and toxicity testing, followed by GMP manufacturing for use in Phase-1 clinical trials,” the research team of Mynvax said.
The immunization with a vaccine should provide significant protection to individuals at high risk of aggravated illness upon contracting the infection.
“Previous studies have shown that antibodies against the spike glycoprotein found on the surface of the earlier 2003 SARS-CoV virus inhibit viral infection in cell culture, and confer protection against infection in animal models. Hence, we and others are attempting to design and test variants of the spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 as vaccine candidates,” the team further said.
Mynvax estimates that at least 100 million doses will be required to meet India’s requirement if the SARS-CoV-2 infection persists for the medium to long term.
It was founded by Raghavan Varadarajan, a professor at IISc’s Molecular Biophysics Unit, and Gautham, a biotech entrepreneur, in 2017 to develop novel recombinant vaccines to fight the human influenza virus.