Indian Immunologicals developing anti-chikungunya vaccine

Hyderabad: Indian Immunologicals Ltd (IIL), a top vaccine manufacturer, on Thursday said it is developing a vaccine for chikungunya, joining a select group of global companies trying to find a credible cure for the mosquito-borne viral disease.
IIL, a subsidiary of National Dairy Development Board, is also developing a vaccine for Japanese Encephalitis virus (JEV) for the first time in the country.

IIL Managing Director K V Balasubramaniam said that currently no vaccine is available for chikungunya anywhere in the world and IIL is developing a vaccine for this disease using a virus strain isolated by a laboratory in the USA.

"For JEV infection, IIL is developing a better and safer vaccine by producing the virus in cell culture, instead of using mouse brain for growing the virus which the current vaccine manufacturers do. The inactivated JEV vaccine is thus a safer vaccine," Balasubrahmanyam said in a release here.

Right now both the vaccines are undergoing pre- clinical toxicology studies, he added. Very few companies in the world are working on a vaccine for chikungunya.

Every year several outbreaks of these diseases occur in India, resulting in thousands of cases of hospitalisation and innumerable deaths.

In 2006, there was a large outbreak Andhra Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Delhi. In that year, over 74,000 cases of chikungunya were reported in Tamil Nadu and Orissa alone, the release said.

In 2011, Uttar Pradesh reported over 4,000 cases of JEV with 376 deaths.

IIL expects these vaccines to enter human trails in 24 to 36 months. Once approved, the company intends to manufacture these products at its facility at Karakapatla near here, said Ramesh Mathur, General Manager (R&D), IIL.

He said IIL, which serves both animal and human health markets, hopes to sell these vaccines at low prices.


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