Pharmaceutical major Zydus Cadila on Saturday said it has initiated an accelerated research programme with multiple teams in India and Europe for developing a vaccine for coronavirus. The first approach deals with the development of a DNA vaccine against the major viral membrane protein responsible for the cell entry of the novel coronavirus, now called COVID-19, the company said in a statement.
The plasmid DNA would be introduced into the host cells, where it would be translated into the viral protein and elicit a strong immune response mediated by the cellular and humoral arms of the human immune system, which play a vital role in protection from disease as well as viral clearance.
The second approach deals with the development of a live attenuated recombinant measles virus vectored vaccine against COVID-19. The recombinant measles virus (rMV) produced by reverse genetics would express codon-optimized proteins of the novel coronavirus and will induce long-term specific neutralizing antibodies, which will provide protection from the infection.
"There is an urgent and pressing need to develop a safe and efficacious vaccine that can prevent the spread of this deadly virus. Our researchers are working to bring a speedy solution to this most devastating outbreak in recent times," Zydus Group Chairman Pankaj R Patel said.
The Novel Coronavirus outbreak, which started in December 2019, has so far infected over 67,000 people and has claimed over 1,500 lives.