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India launches 1st Covid vaccine for animals

Pune: The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), which has developed India's first Covid vaccine for animals, Ancovax, would be recommending the use of the vaccine first in zoo animals owing to higher Covid mortalities among lions in Indian zoos, top officials from ICAR told.
The vaccine, which has been developed by ICAR-NRC on Equines and officially launched on June 9, was tested on the army, pet, and stray canines in various cities in India as well as in wild and laboratory animals. 
It was found to be safe and did not have any side effects, Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra, Director General of ICAR told. "For manufacturing Ancovax in India, the Institute is roping in a private firm to produce bulk doses. 
The vaccine technology is ready, but necessary approvals will be required to make the vaccine reach the end-users.
However, the first set of animals the vaccine can of animals the vaccine can be those in zoos and national parks in India because Covid mortality in lions has been high," Dr. Mohapatra said.
Dr. Bhupendra Nath Tripathi, deputy director-general (Animal Science), ICAR told, "16 lions and one leopard in some zoos in India were earlier infected with SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant, and most of them succumbed to the infection. Since the more severe incidence of Covid has been reported in zoo animals, the initial doses could be given to animals like leopards, tigers, and lions in such establishments when Covid cases begin surging there."
Ancovax contains inactivated SARS-CoV-2 (Delta) antigen and is effective against both, Delta and Omicron variants.
Dr. Tripathi said that the vaccine is administered in two doses, 21 days apart, and generates a good immune response for up to six months.

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