CCMB develops India’s first mRNA based Covid-19 vaccine candidate

The mRNA vaccine candidate is fully indigenous and devoid of any technology contributions from elsewhere

New Delhi: The Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) has announced the development of country’s first potential mRNA vaccine candidate to fight SARS-CoV-2. The indigenously developed mRNA vaccine candidate is undergoing pre-clinical studies to evaluate its efficacy to protect against live virus infection, CCMB researchers on Friday said.
The mRNA vaccine candidate and the technology, developed by a team of researchers from the Atal Incubation Centre-CCMB (AIC-CCMB), is fully indigenous and devoid of any technology contributions from elsewhere. “We observed robust immune response against SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein in mice, upon administration of two doses of the mRNA. The anti-Spike antibodies generated were found to be more than 90 percent efficient in preventing the human ACE2 receptor binding to the coronavirus,” Dr Rajesh Iyer, senior scientist who is involved in the project, said.
CEO, AIC-CCMB, Dr Madhusudhana Rao, who is also the lead scientist of the mRNA vaccine platform, said that the research team were able to establish mRNA vaccine technology and develop a home-grown mRNA vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2 in less than a year since the inception of the project.
“The current war with Covid-19 pandemic had brought to light many vaccine technologies, and India’s vaccine programme is highly lauded. However, we lacked the potent mRNA vaccine technology, as developed by Moderna or Pfizer/BioNtech to combat Covid-19 in the U.S.A and Europe. The mRNA vaccine technology developed by CCMB is different from mRNA vaccine being developed from Gennova Bio, which is based on self-replicating RNA,” Dr Madhusudhana Rao said.
Even though Covid-19 is waning, the vaccine platform holds promise for many infectious diseases that India faces. “This is a proof-of-principle wherein we have shown that we can replicate the mRNA vaccine technology end-to-end. The beauty of this technology is in its modularity and rapid turn-around times. That means with significantly less efforts, the developed technology can be used to sire vaccine for other infectious diseases like dengue, tuberculosis or malaria.” said Dr Vinay Nandicoori, Director, CCMB.