Vaccines major Bharat Biotech on Monday announced its coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine Covaxin will use adjuvant Alhydroxiquim-II to boost immune response.
An adjuvant is a pharmacological or immunological agent that improves the immune response of a vaccine by producing more antibodies and providing longer-lasting immunity.
Kansas-based ViroVax LLC has licensed their adjuvant for the use of Covaxin, which is currently undergoing advanced stages of clinical trials in India.
Covaxin is an inactivated vaccine derived from a strain of the Sars-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19, isolated at the Indian Institute of Medical Research-National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune.
The inactivated virus has been formulated with ViroVax’s adjuvant to produce the vaccine candidate.
Bharat Biotech is currently conducting Phase 2 human trials of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate after receiving approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) around the end of June.
“There is a critical need for the development and availability of adjuvants that induce greater antibody responses to vaccine antigens, thus resulting in long-term protection against pathogens. Adjuvants also enhance the sustainability of the global vaccine supply on account of their antigen-sparing effect. Our partnership with ViroVax resonates with Bharat Biotech’s relentless efforts towards developing safe and effective vaccines coupled with long-term immunity,” said Krishna Ella, chairman and managing director, Bharat Biotech.
“The widely used adjuvant Aluminium hydroxide in the development of Sars-CoV-2 vaccines is known to induce a Th2 based response (which are important for eradication of extracellular parasites and bacterial infection). The Th2 based response has a theoretical risk of vaccine associated enhanced respiratory diseases (VAERD or ADE). We have used Imidazoquinoline class of adjuvants (TLR7/8 agonists), which are known to induce Th1 based response which further reduces the risk of ADE (Anti-Body Dependent Enhancement),” he added.
Sunil David of ViroVax, said, “ViroVax is delighted to partner with Bharat Biotech. This has been possible because of support from the National Institutes of Health.”
ViroVax is supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, medical research centres under US Department of Health.