Homegrown pharma major Cipla on Wednesday announced the commercialisation of antibody detection kits ''ELIFast' for COVID-19 in India. These test kits have been manufactured in partnership with KARWA Ltd under the technology transfer from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The company, however, did not disclose the price of the antibody detection kit.
The antibody tests are critical for surveillance and understanding the proportion of the population exposed to the coronavirus infection. The antibody tests identify the immune status of the individuals to the COVID-19 infection. ICMR has recommended these tests for conducting sero-surveillance which may help in determining the burden of COVID-19 at the community level and monitor the trends in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
"As part of this collaborative effort, Cipla will be responsible for the marketing and distribution of the SARS CoV-2-IgG antibody detection ELISA that will be manufactured by KARWA Ltd," the Mumbai-headquartered firm said in a filing to the BSE.
The drug major said that ICMR has provided the requisite technological know-how and process for developing the test kits to the approved manufacturers. The product will be marketed under the brand name 'ELIFast'.
"Cipla's expansive distribution network will help in ensuring the seamless supply of kits across the country. Supply will be undertaken through the channels approved by ICMR, to ensure equitable access," it said.
ELIfast has been validated and approved by ICMR and the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune. It is found to have specificity and sensitivity of 99.33 per cent and 92 per cent respectively. The kit is user friendly with a simple protocol with ready-to-use reagents and is compatible with common ELISA equipment, Cipla said.
Meanwhile, Cipla is also scouting for vaccine collaborations and the launch of more drugs than can tame the COVID-19 virus, which mainly affects the human lungs. Its research and development department is working on a couple of therapies that can be used in the treatment of COVID-19 and it could consider entering into marketing collaborations with companies that are currently developing vaccines for COVID-19, Umang Vohra, global CEO and managing director of Cipla told Business Today earlier this month.
Cipla had already launched Cipremi (Gilead's Remdesivir) in June this year, the only US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) treatment for patients with severe COVID-19 disease. It is also selling Actemra (Toclizumab), a repurposed drug now widely used in the treatment of COVID-19.
In August, Cipla launched Favipiravir, an off-patent oral anti-viral drug that has been shown to hasten clinical recovery in COVID -19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms. Cipla sells favipiravir under the brand name Ciplenza and is priced at Rs 68 per tablet.