“Dengue and Chikungunya are major public health problems in India like most tropical and subtropical countries. Recently, the rapid spread of Zika virus across the world has added threat to the list of Aedes-borne infections. Unfortunately, yet no effective antivirals and vaccines are available for these infections. Our agreement with Sun Pharma aims to find a solution to these unmet needs,” Dr. Devendra Mourya, Director, NIV, Pune, said. The drug molecules will be tested against all the three viruses through laboratory studies and later promising candidates will be tested on animals.
Sun Pharma’s agreement with NIV follows its MOU with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for conducting joint scientific research and innovation for testing of drugs, biosimilars and vaccines and disease control and elimination programs.
The Zika virus was first detected in India in December 2016 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Zika can spread from a pregnant woman to her baby. This can result in microcephaly, severe brain malformations, and other birth defects. On the other hand, Dengue incidence has increased by more than 30-fold in the past 50 years. Currently, half of the global population lives under the Dengue threat; and an estimated 390 million infections occur worldwide every year with approx. 100 million cases of clinical disease and over 25,000 deaths.