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Institute of Chemical Technology gets grant to develop nanovaccine for nasal immunization against brucellosis

Our Bureau, Mumbai
Thursday, November 28, 2013, 15:30 Hrs  [IST]

A research team from Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), Mumbai receives a prestigious grant to develop the first green nanovaccine for nasal immunization against brucellosis from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Prof. Vandana Patravale, ICT, Matunga was awarded $100,000 in phase I of Grand Challenges Explorations Round 11 for developing the cost-effective vaccine technology from over 2700 applications. The sub-unit nanovaccine aims to confer long term protective immunity to humans and livestock population.

“The vaccine is based on naturally derived components and would be fabricated using an eco-friendly process eliminating the use of hazardous organic solvents”, says Prof. Patravale.

Prof. Patravale’s team at ICT, led by Swati Vyas and Priyanka Prabhu, doctoral students in conceptualized the initiative stirred by an ongoing research project in Prof. Patravale’s group concerning detection of brucellosis. Swati would be pursuing the proposed vaccine project funded by the Gates Foundation with Prof. Patravale.

Brucellosis is a zoonotic bacterial infection with a potential to be exploited as a bioweapon, and currently no human vaccine is available for treatment. The disease annually affects over 500,000 individuals across the globe. Prevalent in developing areas of Mediterranean province, Western Asia, the Middle East and areas of Africa and Latin America, the disease commonly affects domestic animals such as cattle, goats, sheep and swine, and is greatly responsible for causing abortions especially in cattle. Brucellosis in humans is largely an occupational hazard that spreads through contact, air and consumption of unpasteurized dairy products.

Whole cell attenuated vaccines such as Rev1 and S19 are currently available for livestock animals; however carry the risk of eliciting a full blown infection, especially in animal handlers and clinical laboratory personnel. Moreover, current vaccines are administered invasively causing pain and discomfort to the vaccinee. The innovation, administered intranasally, would provide a painless solution with potential to translate into a mass vaccination campaign to curb spread of brucellosis. The researchers propose to develop the unique technology with the aim to make it largely affordable. Prof. Sharmila B. Majee, Head at the Department of Microbiology, Bombay Veterinary College, Parel, Mumbai, regularly encounters clinical samples at her laboratory and says accomplishing vaccination against brucellosis is challenging and the technology will help bring forth a disease prevention strategy towards promoting animal and public health.

Institute of Chemical Technology is a premier (deemed) university dedicated to education, training, and scientific research focusing in pharmacy, chemical engineering, chemical technology, applied chemistry, biotechnology and bio-processing. Prof. Ganapati D. Yadav, Vice Chancellor, ICT, has appreciated the efforts for pursuing the innovation and acknowledges the conducive and liberal setting at ICT that fosters scientific growth and development to bring forth permanent solutions for problem afflicting the public health and the society at large.


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