India's Bharat Biotech International Announced Invention of Vaccine for Zika Virus

By Staff Writer

Feb 04, 2016 03:51 AM EST

Bharat Biotech International, the largest biotech company in India announced to have found the vaccine for Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease. A day before, France's Sanofi Pasteur planned to research on developing vaccine for the virus.

Headquartered in Hyderabad, Bharat Biotech was founded by India's renowned scientist in molecular genetics, Dr. Krishna Ella in 1996. The company was known for inventing a fourth-generation of typhoid vaccine that provide longer immunity in 2013.

Today, the company announced to have successfully invented a vaccine for Zika virus. Biotech in Asia reported Dr. Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Biotech announcement, "On Zika, we are probably the first vaccine company in the world to file a vaccine candidate patent about nine months ago."

In developing the vaccine, the company used an officially imported live Zika virus. Bharat Biotech has now successfully developed two vaccine candidates, but conducting test on animal and human trials may be difficult.

Therefore, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has provided an assistance. As reported by NDTV, director general of ICMD, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said, "We have just been informed about the Zika vaccine candidate that Bharat Biotech has. We will examine it from the scientific point of view and see the feasibility of taking it forward. It is a good example of a Make in India product."

With this announcement, Bharat Biotech showed its prowess in biotechnology research and development. Just yesterday, according to Reuters, French drugmaker Sanofi SA announced to start a project to develop vaccine against the virus. along with NewLink Genetics Corp from the U.S. and Australian biotech Sementis Ltd.

Zika virus is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes such as Aedes aegepti and Aedes albopictus. It was named after a forest in Uganda, where the virus was first found in 1947. The virus cause a fever in human, similar to dengue fever, combined with a joint pain or transient arthritis in smaller joint in hands and feet.

Recently, the virus outbreak occurred in Brazil starting April 2015. Afterwards, the outbreak spread to neighboring countries and reaching all South America, Central America, and Caribbean. Virus transmission from mother to child have caused a microcephaly birth-defect, as the reported case affecting thousands of babies in Brazil and French Polynesia.

In adults, the virus can cause Guillame-Barre Syndrome, a serious neurological condition which can lead to paralysis. Several cases have been reported in the area where outbreak and some countries have issued travel warning to South America and Carribean. On Monday, WHO declared the outbreak as public health emergency of international concern.

Now, as Bharat Biotech has announced its invention of Zika virus vaccine, it will be a hope to supress the spreading of the virus. 

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