CSIR Director General Dr Shekhar C Mande speaking to ANI on Sunday. Photo/ANI
CSIR Director General Dr Shekhar C Mande speaking to ANI on Sunday. Photo/ANI

CSIR testing anti-leprosy vaccine Mw for COVID-19, says DG Shekhar Mande

ANI | Updated: Apr 19, 2020 15:21 IST

New Delhi [India], April 19 (ANI): Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (SCIR) Director-General Dr Shekhar C Mande on Sunday said that the institute is currently testing Mycobacterium w (Mw), which is a vaccine for leprosy, to treat COVID-19.
"The CSIR is concentrating on immune-boosting vaccines and hence Mw is being tested. We have taken approval of Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) to test Mw for a vaccine of coronavirus," Mande told ANI.
Speaking about the Mw vaccine, he said, "The Mw is usually used as a vaccine for leprosy. It is a micro bacterium species and we will be using a strain of it for an immune-boosting vaccine."

He further said that the CSIR has tied up with several hospitals and they are in the process of recruiting patients for clinical trials. "The results of our trial will be out in a couple of months. If we find that the results are encouraging then we will increase the number of patients," he said.
He said hydroxychloroquine is under advanced trial stages and as per initial indications, it seems to be working on people who are continuously exposed to coronavirus patients.
"The real efficacy of the drug will be known only after these trials are over," he added.
On COVID-19 testing kits, the CSIR chief said that in 48 hours two new rapid testing kits have been developed - one by the institute and the other by Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) in Thiruvananthapuram.
"While the kit developed by SCTIMST is RT lamp for testing COVID-19, the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology has developed a paper-based kit. Both the kits produce accurate results in 30 minutes," Mande said. (ANI)