In what could be a major victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make In India’ campaign, a company in Hyderabad has claimed that it has developed a vaccine for the Zika virus.
The World Health Organization on Monday declared a Global Health Emergency after the mosquito-borne virus was detected in South America and rapidly spread to dozens of countries in the Americas and even parts of Europe.
The virus has been linked to birth defects in new-born babies after pregnant women are bitten by the mosquito.
Scientists in the US and elsewhere in the West have claimed that a vaccine was “years away”.
However, Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International on Wednesday claimed that it has now developed a vaccine.
Dr Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Biotech Ltd said: “On Zika, we are probably the first vaccine company in the world to file a vaccine.”
The company claim a patent was filed nine months ago, and that it is now ready.
Bharat Biotech is thought to have imported a live sample of the virus and developed two separate vaccines.
The next stage is putting the vaccine through animal and human trials – a process that could take may months.
Dr Ella says he has sought the direct intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure that the vaccine’s development and delivery is fast-tracked, cutting through the red tape of regulatory clearances.
The Indian Council of Medical Reserach is now set to examine the vaccine.