The country's first homegrown COVID-19 vaccine Anocovax for animals, developed by Haryana-based ICAR-National Research Centre on Equines, (NRC), was launched by Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday.
Anocovax is an inactivated SARS-CoV-2 Delta (COVID-19) vaccine for animals. The immunity induced by Anocovax neutralizes both Delta and Omicron variants of SARS-CoV-2, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) said in a statement. The vaccine contains inactivated SARS-CoV-2 (Delta) antigen with Alhydrogel as an adjuvant. It is safe for dogs, lions, leopards, mice, and rabbits, it added. "It is due to the untiring contributions of scientists that the country stands self-reliant in developing its own vaccines more rather than importing. This is really a big achievement," Tomar said after the virtual launch of the COVID-19 vaccine and diagnostic kits for animals developed by the ICAR-NRC.
Besides Anocovac, Tomar launched the 'CAN-CoV-2 ELISA kit' -- a sensitive and specific nucleocapsid protein-based indirect ELISA kit -- for antibody detection against SARS-CoV-2 in canines. "There are no laboratory animals required for the preparation of the antigens. The kit is made in India and a patent has been filed for the same. No other comparable kits for detection of antibodies in canines are available in the market," the ICAR said.
Surra ELISA kit, a suitable diagnostic assay for 'Trypanosoma evansi' infection in multiple animal species, was also launched by Tomar. Surra is one of the most important haemoprotozoan diseases of the different livestock species caused by Trypanosoma evansi. The disease is prevalent in all the agro-climatic parts of India. In India, losses to livestock productivity were estimated to be Rs 44,740 million annually due to Surra, the ICAR noted. The minister also launched the Equine DNA parentage testing kit, which is a powerful genomic technology for parentage analysis among horses.
ICAR Director General Trilochan Mohapatra, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Secretary Atul Chaturvedi, and ICAR Deputy Director General (Animal Science) Bhupendra Nath Tripathi were also present. ICAR is the country's premier agri-research institute that functions under the Union Agriculture Ministry.