The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) on Thursday said that it has established stable cultures of coronavirus from the samples of COVID-19 patients.
CCMB has said that this has now enabled them to work towards vaccine development and testing of potential drugs to fight the deadly virus.
“Over the last month and a half, CSIR-CCMB has established stable cultures of COVID-19 causing coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 from patients’ samples,” the CCMB said in a release.
A team of researchers led by the virologist in CCMB, Krishnan H Harshan, have isolated infectious viruses from several isolates (a culture of microorganisms isolated for study), it said.
“The ability to culture the virus in the lab enables CCMB to work towards vaccine development and testing potential drugs to fight COVID-19,” said CCMB.
“It also makes them a potential donor of the culture to other authorized centres that can continue growing the virus for their own use,” it added.
According to the Ministry of Science and Technology, culturing a large amount of the virus and inactivating them can help in its usage as an inactivated virus vaccine.
“Once we inject the inactivated virus, the human immune system triggers the production of germ-specific antibodies. One can inactivate the virus by heat or chemical means.
“The inactivated virus can trigger antibody response, but does not infect and make us sick as they cannot reproduce,” it added.
“Using the Vero cell lines to grow the coronavirus, CCMB is now in a position to isolate and maintain viral strains from different regions.
We are working towards producing viruses in huge quantities that can be inactivated, and used in vaccine development and antibody production for therapeutic purposes”, CCMB Director Rakesh Mishra said.