Coronavirus Outbreak: Major Headway in Fight Against COVID-19, Candidate Vaccine Ready For Pre-Clinical Tests
Coronavirus Outbreak (Photo Credits: IANS)

New Delhi, February 18: In yet another breakthrough in the battle against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, a candidate vaccine is ready for pre-clinical tests. The SII-Codagenix candidate vaccine is developed by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) and American biotechnology firm Codagenix. Experts involved in developing the candidate vaccine plan to conduct human trials within six months. Coronavirus: Two More Indians Test Positive for COVID-19 on Diamond Princess Cruise Ship Off Japan.

The SII-Codagenix candidate vaccine is developed using a laboratory-made synthetic virus. According to a Times of India report, this could significantly reduce the time taken to build a shield against the virus. "Conventional approaches usually take seven to eight years to fully develop a vaccine for use. We have already marched ahead by generating a candidate vaccine in the laboratory of our US-based partner Codagenix," Adar Poonawalla, owner and CEO of SII, was quoted as saying.

"Our vaccine-virus strain is identical to the original virus and can generate a robust immune response," Poonawalla added. Earlier, the Dangerous Pathogens team of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia, headed by Indian-origin Professor SS Vasan, grew the first batch of coronavirus outside China. This will help experts conduct preclinical studies.

Meanwhile, the death toll in mainland China from the coronavirus outbreak has increased by 98 over the past 24 hours to 1,868. The number of confirmed cases has gone up by 1,886 to 72,436, according to the Chinese state health committee. The novel coronavirus disease, dubbed COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO), was first detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, in late December 2019 and has since spread to more than 20 other countries.