By Mohammad Mazhari

It takes 10-20 years to eradicate Covid-19: Vaxine research director

August 9, 2021 - 22:1

TEHRAN - Professor Nikolai Petrovsky, the Vaxine research director, rules out the possibility that the world can easily eradicate Covid-19 in a short time before immunizing the entire people in the world against the virus.

“I do not think we will easily eradicate Covid-19; at a minimum this could take 10-20 years as we would need to immunize the whole global population and develop new vaccines better able to block transmission and prevent infection entirely against all the variants – this is what our own vaccine is trying to achieve, but it is not going to be an easy task as the virus can keep mutating,” Petrovsky tells the Tehran Times.

The founder of Vaxine - a company funded by the national institutes of health to develop novel vaccine technologies - believes that “almost all the vaccine so far has just gone to a small number of the wealthiest countries, so this is definitely a concern.”

He adds, “Our company Vaxine Pty Ltd is trying to address by making our cutting-edge recombinant protein vaccine technology available to partners in developing world countries.”
Vaxine Pty Ltd is a biotechnology company. The company develops and manufactures therapeutic and prophylactic vaccines for the treatment of infectious diseases, allergies, autoimmunity, and cancer.

 “The company we are working with Cinnagen and other partners to scale up manufacture of the vaccine to ensure we are ready to meet future demand which we expect to be very large,” Petrovsky states.

Following is the text of the interview:


Q: Could you update us about your collaboration with Iran’s Cinnagen for the Covid-19 vaccine?  Would you help the company to produce the vaccine locally?

A: Vaxine is committed to making its vaccine technology available to much of the globe as possible. Our strategic alliance with Cinnagen is the way in which we are helping to make our cutting-edge recombinant protein vaccine available to the people of Iran and regional countries. 

 We are similarly working with companies, governments and aid agencies to produce the vaccine locally in different parts of the world, thereby ensuring local vaccine self-sufficiency while at the same time ensuring the very best vaccine technology is available everywhere.

 Q:  What are the main phases of vaccine manufacturing? 

A: Vaccine manufacturing does not have phases like clinical trials. Instead, it is a matter of scale – how many doses can be achieved with one batch. With the vaccine now in final Phase 3 clinical trial, we are working with Cinnagen and other partners to scale up manufacture of the vaccine to ensure we are ready to meet future demand which we expect to be very large.
 
Q:   Which companies or countries are involved in producing the vaccine? What are the advantages of the vaccine in comparison with others?

A: We are in confidential discussions with companies and governments in many countries around the world to implement our Covid-19 vaccine technology. We cannot mention exact names for commercial confidentiality reasons. Our vaccine is protein-based so it is very safe and has few side effects. In animals, it has shown potent protection and has even been shown to block virus transmission, which is very exciting.
 
Q: Once in a while the world is hearing with great fears reports of new variants of Covid-19. Can the world eradicate this virus totally? How long does it take to do so?

A: I do not think we will easily eradicate Covid-19; at a minimum, this could take 10-20 years as we would need to immunize the whole global population and develop new vaccines better able to block transmission and prevent infection entirely against all the variants – this is what our own vaccine is trying to achieve, but it is not going to be an easy task as the virus can keep mutating.

Q:  Some critics are talking about systematic discrimination in the distribution of the Coronavirus vaccine. How do you assess international cooperation in transferring vaccine to developing countries?

A: Almost all the vaccine so far has just gone to a small number of the wealthiest countries, so this is definitely a concern; our company Vaxine Pty Ltd is trying to address by making our cutting-edge recombinant protein vaccine technology available to partners in developing world countries.

Q:  What is your analysis about the origin of Coronavirus? Basically, are the claims about the origins of the virus provable? 

A: Despite being over a year and a half since the start of the pandemic, the world still does not know how this pandemic started, whether as a chance cross-over event from an animal host to humans as in previous pandemics, or as a laboratory leak. Definite evidence to rule in or out either of these possibilities has not been found, so either option remains possible.  

Most importantly, this pandemic has exposed the need for much greater international cooperation on a truly global basis to better manage and ideally prevent any future pandemic. Citizens of all countries suffer greatly from any pandemic so it is important that political considerations are put aside in identifying better strategies to prevent future pandemics.

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