Indian pharmaceutical companies Bharat Biotech and Biological E. Ltd said on Monday they could quickly rework their COVID-19 vaccine products to fight new variants once their genetic sequence is known, Trend reports citing Reuters.
In recent months, India has confirmed the presence of the variants first identified in Brazil, Britain and South Africa, which are believed to explain an upsurge in cases in the Indian states of Maharashtra and Kerala.
In all, India has reported more than 11 million coronavirus infections, the highest number in the world after the United States, and about 156,000 deaths.
ICMR and Bharat Biotech have collaborated to develop India’s first homegrown COVID-19 vaccine, which, along with another licensed from AstraZeneca and Oxford University, is being used in the country’s immunisation campaign that has covered more than 10 million people since mid-January.
India is the world’s biggest maker of vaccines, and its companies have promised to produce billions of doses of COVID-19 shots.
Bharat Biotech Chairman Krishna Ella said his company would mainly need data from the ICMR or the World Health Organization on the genetic sequence of any variant to quickly make an effective vaccine.