OncoGen inks deal with Cantacuzino Institute to develop vaccine against COVID-19

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OncoGen Centre from Timișoara that announced in March it had started tests for a vaccine to fight the novel Coronavirus-COVID-19, has made a new announcement today, that it had signed a partnership with the “Cantacuzino” Research Institute to join forces to create the COVID-19 vaccine.

OncoGen says there will be an intranasal vaccine to be administered either through nose drops or through spray.

OncoGen Centre has signed a collaboration agreement with Cantacuzino Institute, the National Institute for Medical-Military Research and Development. Together we’ll do our best to develop the production of vaccines in Romania, including the vaccine against COVID-19, initiated by OncoGen.

We strongly believed that the Cantacuzino Institute can substantially contribute to making these goals true by restarting the vaccine production,” says OncoHGen in a Facebook post today.

The centre also announced that in partnership with the Cantacuzino Institute had won the contest held by the Ministry of Education and Research to develop a vaccine against the SARS-nCov-2 virus.

OncoGen and Cantacuzino Institute have got RON 3.5 million, which will enable them to continue research to develop the COVID-19 vaccine. OncoGen says that the centre had been recognized by the World Health Organisation as “the only research centre in Romania that has a protein subunit COVID-19 vaccine candidate in pre-clinical tests.”

The centre says that a vaccine can be administered either by shot, by skin patch or in the nose and that they had chosen the internasal method, as the SARS-nCoV-2 is also entering the human body through the nose.

However, the OncoGen chief, Virgil Păunescu is targeted by an internal inquiry of the Timisoara County Hospital after he had vaccinated himself with the COVID-19 vaccine which is not certified yet. In retort, the researcher claimed that, in the absence of a government aid, he cannot carry out the clinical tests needed to develop the vaccine.

Cantacuzino National Institute of Research-Development for Microbiology and Immunology (CNIR) is a national institute in Romania, which does scientific research in the fields of microbiology, immunology, molecular biology and genetics, and education of microbiology, immunology, epidemiology, training of scientific and technical. Despite ranking among the most appreciated immunological producers in the world, the institute has started to face decline since February 2010, after the National Agency of Medicines withdrew its authorization to sell products for injection, including vaccines, as the fabrication standard had expired. Under these conditions, some immunization national programs have been blocked for several months, while the authorities being compelled to import other vaccines.

Media and civil society have long blamed the state authorities of closing their eyes or even of being hand in hand with the foreign drug companies that would want their medicine and vaccines prevail on the Romanian market.

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