CCMB, AIC-CCMB develops mRNA vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2

“We observed robust immune response against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in mice upon administration of two doses of the mRNA. The anti-spike antibodies generated were found to be more than 90% efficient in preventing the human ACE2 receptor binding to the coronavirus,” said Dr. Rajesh Iyer, a scientist involved in the project.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  13 May 2022 1:58 PM GMT
CCMB, AIC-CCMB develops mRNA vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2

Hyderabad: The Council of Science and Industrial Research (CSIR) along with the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) has announced the development of a potential mRNA vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. The mRNA vaccine technology so developed is indigenous and devoid of any technological contributions from elsewhere. The team at the Atal Incubation Centre-CCMB (AIC-CCMB) led the development of the vaccine candidate.

Vaccines work by training one's immune system to identify disease-causing micro-organisms and eliminate them quickly when they encounter them subsequently. The mRNA vaccine technology does this by introducing an mRNA of the micro-organism of concern. This mRNA in the host cells gives rise to the microbial protein or a part of it, which trains the immune system to evade it when the real infection happens with the same live micro-organism.

"We observed robust immune response against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in mice upon administration of two doses of the mRNA. The anti-spike antibodies generated were found to be more than 90% efficient in preventing the human ACE2 receptor binding to the coronavirus," said Dr. Rajesh Iyer, a scientist involved in the project.

Currently, the mRNA vaccine candidate is undergoing pre-clinical challenge studies to evaluate its efficacy to protect against live virus infection.

"However, we lacked the potent mRNA vaccine technology as developed by Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech to combat COVID-19 in the USA and Europe," Dr. Iyer added.

Dr. Madhusudhana Rao, CEO of AIC-CCMB and the lead scientist of this work, said the developed technology is different from the mRNA vaccine that is being developed at Gennova Bio – Gennova Bio's vaccine is based on self-replicating RNA. He added that the AIC-CCMB team was able to establish mRNA vaccine technology and develop a home-grown mRNA vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2 in less than a year since the inception of the project.

Even though COVID-19 is waning, the vaccine platform holds promise for many infectious diseases that India faces. "This a proof-of-principle wherein we have shown that we can replicate the mRNA vaccine technology end-to-end. The beauty of this technology is in its modularity and rapid turnaround times. That means with significantly less effort, the developed technology can be used to sire vaccine for other infectious diseases like dengue, tuberculosis, or malaria," said Dr. Vinay Nandicoori, director of CCMB.

He also added that CSIR – the largest research and development organisation in the Union ministry of science and technology – has taken prescient initiatives to establish capacities within India in modern health technologies as part of its programme on self-reliance.

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