IVRI, IIT-Roorkee to develop Covid-19 vaccine for animals

The Bareilly-based Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) is working to develop a vaccine, diagnostic kits and study the transmission dynamics of Coronavirus in pets and wild animals.

No animal species in India has been found Corona positive so far but there have been reports of a tiger at Bronx zoo in New York and a few other pets – particularly cats and dogs – in Hong Kong testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes Covid-19 infection.

There have been reports of people abandoning their pets because of the Corona scare.

According to IVRI director R.K. Singh, “The IVRI has decided to work on developing a vaccine for Corona for domestic and wild animals. This is being done on the directives of the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR). We are also planning to make diagnostic kits which can be used in the laboratory as well as the field.”

IVRI is one of the few institutes in the country which has been testing both human and animal samples for COVID-19.

According to Singh, in case Corona spreads among the domestic and wildlife species in the near future, the virus will undergo genetic changes to adapt better to these animals.

He said, “Our efforts are also aimed at the study of the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 in domestic and wild animals and control its spread among them. Active monitoring has to be done in different animal species and preventive measures should be put in place to control its spread. For such measures, surveillance tools have to be developed – which include diagnostic kits.”

The IVRI will be collaborating with IIT-Roorkee on the project to find an effective anti-viral drug against SARS-CoV-2 under a special drive called ‘Intensification of Research in High Priority Area’ (IRHPA).

The study intends to search for small molecule inhibitors targeting some of the most important viral replication enzymes.