Questions about whether a plant-based vaccination can help fight against the current COVID-19 pandemic have been raised. We then heard that the potential plant-based drug was ready for human trials. And now, Indian company Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. have been given the go ahead.
The drug in question is called AQCH and is derived from tropical climbing shrub cocculus hirsutus, which is known for its medical properties in Asia. The vaccine was initially meant to target the viral infection dengue, but it then showed extensive effects against the coronavirus in laboratory tests.
According to the Times of India, the pharmaceutical company received approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for the AQCH trial in April. Phase II trials will commence on 210 patients across 12 centres in India with results being expected by October.
Bloomberg reveals that this is the first plant-based drug permitted for clinical trials by DCGI to fight COVID-19.
Plant-based vaccinations have been around since the mid-2010s to fight against viruses and hold many benefits. Examples from Creative Biolabs Vaccine include: there is no worry for the drug being contaminated by toxins or pathogens (which typically occur in the production of bacterial vaccines and the drug cannot revert into a wild type or new strain of the virus. The plant-based medicine is cost-effective as they are free of cold-chain transport, easy to expand production scale and easy to store.