NEW DELHI: Pune’s National Institute of Virology (NIV) has succeeded in isolating the deadly coronavirus from an affected patient. According to reports, it has a 99.98% match with the virus in China’s Wuhan. This significant medical breakthrough will help India in developing a vaccine for the deadly Coronavirus.
China, the US, Thailand and Japan have earlier isolated the virus.
However, a Health Ministry official was quoted by PTI as saying that it will take around one-and-a-half to two years for India to develop a vaccine for novel coronavirus even with expedited clinical trials and approvals.
The novel coronavirus has affected 128,392 people in 117 countries and claimed the lives of at least 4,728 as of now. Till now, there are 81 confirmed cases in India, out of which 64 are Indians, 16 Italians and 1 Canadian national.
Sharing more details, Raman R Gangakhedkar, head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases-I (ECD-I), Division of ICMR, said that the NIV has been successful in isolating the virus.
“There are two ways of going for vaccine preparation. One is either you look at the sequences of the gene which then may lead to the development of antibodies, or you actually have the strain and then you try to develop a vaccine which is always an easier option,” he said.
“Coronavirus is difficult to isolate. But the efforts of scientists of National Institute of Virology (NIV) Pune have been successful and about 11 isolates of coronavirus are available which is a prime requisite for doing any kind of research related to viruses. Even with expedited clinical trials and approvals, it will take not less than around one-and-a-half to two years to develop a vaccine,” Gangakhedkar said.
In a related development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday urged people to avoid non-essential travel and large gatherings to break the chain of the spread of coronavirus and said his government is fully vigilant about the situation.
He asked people to say “no to panic” and “yes to precautions”. In a series of tweets, he also said that no minister of the Central government will travel abroad in the upcoming days.