Leading pharmaceutical company Bharat Biotech will use Kansas-based ViroVax’s adjuvant Alhydroxiquim-II to boost the immune response to its coronavirus vaccine Covaxin.
Covaxin is an inactivated vaccine derived from a strain of SARS-CoV-2 virus, isolated at the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune.
The inactivated virus is formulated with ViroVax’s adjuvant to produce the vaccine candidate, under a licensing agreement.
Currently, Bharat Biotech is conducting Phase II clinical trials with Covaxin, approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI).
Explaining the need for adjuvants, components which enhance the effectiveness of medical treatment, Bharat Biotech Chairman and MD Krishna Ella said adjuvants induce greater antibody responses to vaccine antigens, 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 Ella.
According to Ella, aluminum hydroxide adjuvant, widely used in the development of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, is known to induce Th2-based response, which is important for the eradication of extracellular parasites and bacterial infection.
“The Th2-based response has a theoretical risk of vaccine associated with 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 said
He said in Bharat Biotech’s preclinical studies and animal challenge models on Syrian Hamster and Rhesus Macaques, Covaxin induced Th1-response due to the use of Algel-IMDG as an adjuvant.
Meanwhile, Sunil David from ViroVax said the Kansas company is delighted to partner with Bharat Biotech, a collaboration facilitated by the National Institute of Health.