An emergency vaccine for Covid-19 would be available latest by January or February next year, said former director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) NK Ganguly.
Ganguly said most of the vaccine development programmes aim at identifying the genetic code of the spike protein, which has already been identified in this case — that Sars-CoV-2 uses to enter the human cells, reports say.
In the development of the vaccine, this is used to trigger an immune response against subsequent exposure in people who are vaccinated, he added.
“Emergency vaccine will be available for use latest by January or February 2021,” said Ganguly.
RNA is the genetic material of the viruses and messenger RNA or mRNA vaccines are fully synthetic.
After knowing the target antigen’s sequence, the production of a vaccine can be accelerated, and this infrastructure could also be utilised by other mRNA vaccines that contain a different sequence.
Ganguly insisted that mRNA synthetic vaccine is quick to develop and with the aid of accelerated clearances from regulatory authorities, the usual time-frame of 5 years could be reduced drastically.
Usually, the course of vaccine development, from lab to market, on an average, takes between five to ten years.
According to the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, mRNA vaccines represent a promising alternative to conventional vaccine approaches because of their high potency, capacity for rapid development and potential for low-cost manufacture and safe administration.
Responding to a query on testing capacity of the country, Ganguly said India is testing smart, against the backdrop of 1.3 billion population, unlike South Korea and China.