The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has sanctioned a project to develop human monoclonal antibodies as therapy for COVID-19 infections. The project was sanctioned by CSIR under its flagship programme NMITLI (New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative) to a consortium led by Bharat Biotech
 
 
What
  1. The programme brings together Pune-based National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), and Indian Institute of Technology, Indore, and Gurgaon-based PredOmix Technologies, and city-based Bharat Biotech in a collaborative mode for a public health emergency, Bharat Biotech said in a statement. Although efforts are underway for the development of drugs and vaccines for controlling COVID-19, they are slow and expensive processes with uncertainties.
  2. Therefore, an alternate therapeutic regimen for early deployment is critical, the vaccine-maker said in the statement. 
  3. The project aims at such an alternate therapeutic regimen by generating highly effective and specific human monoclonal antibodies that can neutralise the SARS-CoV2 virus and such antibodies can block the spread of infection by binding to the virus and rendering it ineffective. Monoclonal antibody therapy is a highly effective and safe method.
  4. The purpose of vaccination is to protect the healthy against future infections and it alone may not provide the complete solution. 
  5. Though Israel and The Netherlands have recently announced the development of virus-neutralising antibodies, the consortiums approach is to develop a powerful cocktail of neutralising antibodies that can also simultaneously block mutational variants of the virus. 
About CSIR
  1. The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), known for its cutting edge R&D knowledge base in diverse S&T areas, is a contemporary R&D organization.
  2. Having a pan-India presence, CSIR has a dynamic network of 38 national laboratories, 39 outreach centres, 3 Innovation Complexes and 5 units. 
  3. CSIR’s R&D expertise and experience is embodied in about 4600 active scientists supported by about 8000 scientific and technical personnel.
  4. CSIR covers a wide spectrum of science and technology – from radio and space physics, oceanography, geophysics, chemicals, drugs, genomics, biotechnology and nanotechnology to mining, aeronautics, instrumentation, environmental engineering and information technology.
  5. CSIR is ranked at 84th among 4851 institutions worldwide and is the only Indian organization among the top 100 global institutions, according to the Scimago Institutions Ranking World Report 2014. CSIR holds the 17th rank in Asia and leads the country at the first position.