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IISc researchers developing vaccines to treat Covid, HIV

Researchers at the renowned Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru are developing vaccines to treat Covid-19 and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), an official said

Nov 11, 2020
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Researchers at the renowned Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru are developing vaccines to treat COVID-19 and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), an official said. 

"The researchers have developed a heat-tolerant COVID-19 vaccine candidate and a rapid method to identify specific regions on the HIV envelope protein that are targeted by anti-bodies, which can help design effective vaccines," said the official in a statement here.

The institute's molecular bio-physics unit professor Raghavan Varadarajan is leading the team of researchers on developing the vaccines.

"The COVID-19 vaccine candidate contains a part of the spike protein of the novel coronavirus called the receptor binding domain (RBD), the region that helps the virus stick to the host's cell," said the official.

The vaccine candidate is being developed in collaboration with Mynvax, a start-up, co-founded by Varadarajan and incubated at a lab in the institute.

"When tested in guinea pig models, the vaccine candidate triggered a strong immune response. It also remained stable for a month at 37 degree Celsius, and freeze-dried versions could tolerate temperatures as high as 100 degree Celsius," noted the statement.

Such 'warm' vaccines can be stored and transported without expensive cooling equipment to remote areas for mass vaccination although most vaccines need to be stored between 2-8AoC or even cooler temperatures to avoid losing their potency.

The studies were published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

(IANS)

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