Bharat Biotech, a Hyderabad based company, amidst an Ebola like
déjà vu moment for the world, has recently announced
that they have developed two vaccines (ZIKAVAC) to fight against
Zika Virus – one is a recombinant vaccine and another an
inactivated vaccine that has reached the stage of pre-clinical
testing in animals. The company has filed patent applications for
both. The company, until now was only famous for having mastered
the making of the world's cheapest hepatitis-B vaccine. This
news comes as a surprise for many because as recently as the
beginning of 2016, American Scientists predicted that it might take
up as much as a decade to finally release the drug in the
Even though the virus is yet to spread in parts of India, it is
imperative for the hoi polloi to be aware of its spread, chiefly for
two reasons. The first and the more universal reason is because the
virus has reached pandemic levels in various parts of Central and
South Americas. As recently as last month the U.S. Center for
Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines concerning
pregnant women for future travels in the affected countries. The
second reason, being much closer to home, is that the virus
belonging to the family Flaviviridae, is related to other
pathogenic vector borne flaviviruses like dengue, a disease that is
all too common among the lower-middle class and related income
groups in India.
On the last week of January, the World Health Organization, said
that the virus was likely to spread throughout the majority of the
Americas by the end of the year. Though there is not enough
evidence to predict an Ebola like outbreak, it has not escaped such
speculation by the popular media. It even found its way in the
recent G.O.P. debate. Chris Christie, the Governor of New Jersey,
and one of the republican frontrunners, when asked if he would
quarantine individuals returning from Brazil and other Latin
American countries with symptoms of Zika virus, replied in the
One of the men behind the success story, Dr. Krishna Ella, now
the chairman-cum-managing director of Bharat Biotech Ltd, says on
July 2015, his team had a Eureka moment on Zika and were able to
make two vaccine candidates. Hurriedly patents were filed. It
eluded media attention during that time, primarily because no one
anticipated a future global crisis caused by the Zika virus. Ella
says the actual struggles begin now, as the Indian technocracy and
the drugs regulatory system takes its own sweet time for approvals.
Ella's first hurdle now is to convince an expert committee set
up by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) that the
product and patent he has applied for is scientifically worth
pursuing since vaccine trials are very expensive.
Meanwhile, our Research team also put together a list of
trademark application filed by various entities including Bharat
Biotech for the trademark ZIKA and similar trademarks in class
At a time when the entire world is searching for an answer to
the conundrum, the World Health Organization has acknowledged
Bharat Biotech's efforts and said in a recent press statement,
"we have just been informed about the Zika vaccine candidate
that Bharat Biotech has. We will examine it from the scientific
point of view and see the feasibility of taking it
1. Oduyebo T, Petersen EE, Rasmussen SA, et al. Update: Interim
Guidelines for Health Care Providers Caring for Pregnant Women and
Women of Reproductive Age with Possible Zika Virus Exposure —
United States, 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65(Early
The food processing industry one of the largest industries in India is widely recognized as a 'sunrise industry' in India having huge potential for uplifting the agricultural economy, creation of large scale processed food manufacturing and food chain facilities, and the resultant generation of employment and export earnings.
One of the potential threats for manufacturing and sale of food/health supplements such as "Dietary food supplement", "Food supplements", "Nutritional supplements", "Health supplements", is its categorization in the category of "Food" or "Drugs", as there is a very thin line between "drugs/ medicines" and "nutritional supplements".
In its Cabinet Note in December, 2014, the Government of India proposed significant amendments to the Consolidated Foreign Direct Investment Policy, 2014 (''FDI Policy'') with respect to India's medical device industry.
Although in countries like the United States of America and New Zealand, drugs to be prescribed by medical practitioners are allowed to be advertised directly to consumers/patients and are regulated by the respective department of the Government in charge of drugs in the country, the same practice is not followed or encouraged in India.
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