The Drugs Controller General of India, the main body for clinical trials in India, has given approval to VINS Bioproducts to test its antibody engineered product VINCOVIN-19 against the COVID19 pandemic for clinical trials. The development of this novel therapeutic product is a collaborative effort of the University of Hyderabad, CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CSIR-CCMB) and VINS Bioproducts Ltd.

Dr. Nooruddin Khan

VINCOV-19 is an antibody fragment-based (Fab2) product that retains virus binding sites. It is obtained after immunization of horses with inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus in combination with adjuvants. This triggers the development of antibodies in the horses, which is purified and further proteolytically processed to generate highly pure F(ab’) 2 as a finished product. The results indicated that this product has a high neutralizing capacity against SARS-CoV-2. Since neutralizing antibodies could block the internalization of SARS-CoV-2 to lung cells, it is postulated that their passive administration should render maximal clinical benefits if they are applied at the early stages of the disease.

After signing the collaborative MoU between UoH, CCMB, and VINS on May 15, 2020, the research groups at these organizations worked extensively towards standardization of the viral propagation methodologies, bulk viral purification, immunological characterization, and pre-clinal studies, which have shown promising results. The pre-clinical trials for VINCOV-19, which began in October 2020, were highly successful, showing potent Virus neutralizing capability.

The clinical trials for VINCOV-19 will involve over 300 subjects spread across the country. The safety and efficacy of the antibodies will be examined in a group of around 300 patients with Covid-19. The clinical plan is to administer VINCOV-19 to patients with moderate to severe disease according to the published Covid-19 treatment guidelines as soon as they are detected positive. This reinforces the idea that the therapeutic strategy, with equine antibodies, will play a significant role in managing Covid-19 and the ensuing pandemic. Mr. Siddharth Daga, CEO of Vins Bioproducts Ltd., is confident that they will be able to bring out the product to the market soon after the clinical trials.

Dr. Nooruddin Khan, an Associate Professor at the Department of Animal Biology, School of Life sciences, heads the team at UoH. Dr. Khan’s laboratory specializes in the area of immunology, infection biology, and vaccinology. Dr. Krishnan H Harshan, a principal scientist who specializes in molecular virology heads the team at CCMB. Dr. Krishna Mohan is leading the research team at VINS. Dr. Mohan specializes in bioprocessing and product Development.

Prof. Appa Rao Podile, Vice-Chancellor, UoH congratulated the team members for their efforts in bringing out VINCOV-19. He expressed happiness at this industry and academia collaborative effort with complimenting technical and infrastructural strengths available in the three collaborating organizations yielding fruitful results in less than a year. He thanked Dr. Rakesh Mishra (Director CSIRD-CCMB) and Mr. Siddharth Daga, (CEO, Vins Bioproducts Ltd.) for joining hands with the University of Hyderabad in developing VINCOV-19 in our fight against covid-19.