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IIT’s MegaLab to Manufacture and Deliver Indigenous 4th Gen Covid Shot

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On Tuesday, the IIT Alumni Council-founded MegaLab announced plans to manufacture 200 million doses per month of indigenous fourth-generation vaccines, which will compete directly with global players in the world market.

The Mumbai-based Megalab, set up last April by the council to drive the fight against the pandemic with ideas and money, said that the existing indigenous capacity would be adequate to meet world demand after repurposing and addition of balancing equipment.

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“We have received enormous support from eminent Indian scientists and academicians of global repute, leading industry players including contract manufacturers and clinical trial experts, global equipment suppliers and design firms and startups engaged across the supply chain. We are very hopeful of catalysing the availability of a fourth generation vaccine at much reduced prices,” said Ravi Sharma, President of the IIT Alumni Council, in a statement.

“We also expect to backward integrate quickly so as to create a robust foundation for RNA-based prophylactics and therapeutics for a wide range of diseases. This will strongly complement our Biologics work in the area of monoclonal antibodies,” Sharma added.

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MetaLab also added that a new cold chain infrastructure needs to be developed speedily to handle requirements for nationwide delivery of the vaccine.

Further, another initiative by the IIT Alumni Council — Mega Incubator — will create a Rs 75 crore sub-fund to support startups involved in indigenous raw materials for vaccines.

The India Vaccine Stack initiative, launched on Tuesday, has initiated the next round of funding of Rs 700 crores from Venture capital/ Private equity and social funds.

“We have been through the cost reduction and feature enhancement cycle in molecular diagnostics. Simple innovations like pool testing and lyophilisation helped drive down costs and eliminate wastage. Self-amplifying vaccines use the vaccine as a seed for the human body to produce the vaccine itself. This allows for a mRNA type vial of vaccine to be enough for a hundred people instead of ten people. This reduces cost by 90 per cent,” said Sanjay Nagi, Project Director of the India Vaccine Stack.

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