Bharat Biotech, ExcellGene consortium to develop variant-proof Covid vax

The consortium is developing or designing a new vaccine concept that confers highly cross-reactive protection against numerous SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern

Topics  Bharat Biotech | Coronavirus Vaccine | corona

Under this initiative, CEPI will provide up to $19.3 million in funding to develop a “variant-proof” SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate for phase I clinical trials

Switzerland’s ExcellGene SA has announced its role in the recently approved consortium funding through the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) for co-developing a variant-proof coronavirus vaccine with India’s Bharat Biotech.

Under this initiative, CEPI will provide up to $19.3 million in funding to develop a “variant-proof” SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate for phase I clinical trials

Switzerland’s ExcellGene SA has announced its role in the recently approved consortium funding through the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) for co-developing a variant-proof coronavirus vaccine with India’s Bharat Biotech.

The consortium is developing or designing a new vaccine concept that confers highly cross-reactive protection against numerous SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern as well as other betacoronaviruses.

Betacoronaviruses are one of the four genera of coronaviruses — alpha, beta, gamma and delta. The natural reservoirs for betacoronaviruses are bats and rodents. There have been multiple betacoronavirus outbreaks in humans since the early 2000s.

Bharat Biotech Chairman and MD Krishna Ella said: “The global threat of SARS-CoV-2 is continuing with new infections over and over again, irrespective of prior infections or vaccinations. Thus, more applied research has to be done, both in laboratories like those of Prof. Triccas, and in a company like ExcellGene, that can provide entirely new antigen concepts that combine insights into SARS-CoV-2 gained over the last two and a half years.”

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ExcellGene will produce complex chimeric spike antigens using its engineered CHOExpress cell-based technology. Along with Bharat Biotech, and Jamie Triccas of the Sydney Institute for Infectious Diseases and his team at the University of Sydney, Australia, ExcellGene will generate and screen a large and diverse library of chimeric spike proteins to identify highly cross-reactive antigen structures that recall past and possibly future variants. Earlier, ExcellGene had conducted research in an EU-Horizon 2020 funded project on an Ebola candidate antigen molecule that resulted in sterilising immunity in pre-clinical challenge models.

The award to the consortium is the latest that CEPI made under its $200-million programme to advance the development of vaccines that would provide broad protection against Sars-CoV-2 variants and also other betacoronaviruses. It has so far funded nine such projects.

Under this initiative, CEPI will provide up to $19.3 million in funding to develop a “variant-proof” SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate for phase I clinical trials.


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