Mumbai-based Megalab, an IIT Alumni Council-founded Megalab, has secured a Rs 300-crore seed funding to develop a two-dose Ayurveda-based coronavirus vaccine.
Megalab, set up last April by the council, is developing the vaccine that can stop the spread of the deadly virus and prevent infection within a few days of the first dose.
The lab will also be importing available vaccines from the West to be distributed first in Mumbai and then elsewhere.
Alumni council president Ravi Sharma told on Thursday that the seed funding is part of the emergency funds lying with Social Fund, the financing arm of the council and forms part of the Rs 21,000 crore fund raising announced last April in the peak of the first wave of the pandemic.
The proposed vaccine, which will be available for sale over the next six months, is an Ayurveda-based adjuvant vaccine that will have both injectible and nasal drops variants.
Mr Sharma claims that the vaccine will have improve efficacy, reduce side effects, and work across all variants of the virus that has killed more than 2.6 lakh people in the country already.
On the plan to imports vaccines, he said the move follows the US supporting patent waiver on Covid vaccines and should begin within a fortnight for distribution in Mumbai.
The new vaccine initiative is being led by Dr Arindam Bose, a Connecticut- based thought leader of the biotechnology industry, chairperson of the therapeutic group in the Covid-19 task force and a senior advisor to the India Vaccine Stack of the Megalab. Bose previously headed the vaccine development division at the global drug giant Pfizer, while Dr Shantaram Kane, an IIT Bombay alumni and a PhD from MIT, is heading the injectable adjuvant and oral/nasal drops components of the India Vaccine Stack.
The proposed vaccine is the first antigen-free, novel vaccine that is self-limiting and will be locally manufactured.
The end objective is to deliver a continuously upgradable vaccine that can outpace the virus thus helping to end the pandemic, Sharma said, adding the vaccine will initially be available to alumni community only.
The imported vaccines will be priced at a US equivalent price point initially and will delivered via specially retrofitted buses to office or home location.