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Covaxin maker Bharat Biotech founder on Thursday said that his company is now able to predict a pandemic based on changes in virus and related signals.
While speaking at the India pavilion at Vivatech 2022, Bharat Biotech founder and chairman Krishna Ella said that the company had predicted the Zika virus around two years before it was noticed, and he had also predicted a pandemic in December 2019 before COVID-19 surfaced across the world.
"Zika, we were the first ones to file a global patent. Even Atlanta was not aware of Zika. We were the first one in the world. This means we are able to predict the pandemic ahead of time. In December 2019, there was a meeting in Carnegie Mellon, Bengaluru. I said a pandemic will come because signals are coming. What I said, exactly three months later COVID came into picture. As a scientist, we are able to look into how a virus is emerging, re-emerging and how it travels and can spread the disease," Ella said. Zika, we were the first to file a global patent.
Bharat Biotech started in 1997 as a start-up, he said. He said that his old team helped the company make Covaxin and no new talent was engaged in this.
Bharat Biotech's head said that India has the largest BSL-3 (Bio Safety Level 3) laboratories facility in the world that are used to study infectious agents that can be transmitted through the air and are potentially lethal. "I think we will lead the globe in terms of containment facilities," Ella said.
He said that a lot of machines required for the labs were imported from US and Europe where Indian startups need to come in and start developing equipment required for biotechnology. Bharat Biotech chairman said that the government should give incentives to potential investors in startups to support their research and innovation.
"I am for giving some tax incentives to potential investors, private equities, which are funding support areas of the startups in the country. They should be given exemption. Then automatically too much money will flow into startups," Ella said.
He said that 150 per cent tax deduction on research and development expenses is also no longer available in India and called for continuing such exemption further with higher level of exemption.
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