Indian women are leading the fight against the novel coronavirus. An Indian woman who has recently been in the news is Kolkata’s Chandra Datta. Datta is a significant part of the Oxford University team developing a vaccine to counter COVID-19.

The 34-year-old Oxford resident works as a quality assurance manager at the university. The University facility has created the anti-viral vector vaccine — ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. They started to do trials on humans last week. TOI reports that if the vaccine works effectively in trials then it could be released to the public by September-October. However, Datta alerts, “It all depends on the trial data.”

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“After I have checked all the paperwork, the quality professional certifies the lot that he is happy that the vaccine is subject to a clinical trial. It happened on Wednesday with the COVID-19 vaccine,” she told TOI adding, “It was an incredible experience.”

“Last month everyone was under great pressure, but we did it very quickly. There has been a huge team effort,” she said.

Datta hails from Golf Gardens in Tollygunge area of Kolkata. She went to Gokhale Memorial Girls’ School and graduated in BTech in engineering and biotechnology from the Heritage Institute of Technology. She moved to the UK in 2009 to study for an MSc in bioscience (biotechnology) at Leeds University.

Her parents 65-year-old Samir Kanti and 58-year-old Kaberi Datta are proud of their daughter’s contribution towards the development of a vaccine to beat COVID-19 that has sent the entire world in a lockdown. But they also worry about the increasing cases and number of deaths due to coronavirus in the UK. “My daughter has always been ambitious and intelligent. The way the coronavirus is spreading, I was extremely tense about her wellbeing,” said the mother, reported News 18.

Chandra’s father said that she came back to India last in December 2019 for a couple of weeks. “That was the last time we met her. I am proud that my daughter is associated with such a noble cause,” he added.

After finishing her MSc from Leeds University, Chandra worked in several roles before getting the job at Oxford, where she works at the university’s Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility. It manufactures viral vector vaccines for early-phase clinical trials all over the world and is manufacturing the COVID-19 vaccine developed at the Jenner Institute.

“After I have checked all the paperwork, the quality professional certifies the lot that he is happy that the vaccine is subject to a clinical trial. It happened on Wednesday with the COVID-19 vaccine,” she told TOI adding, “It was an incredible experience.”

 

Also Read: Lockdown To Continue Till We Find A Vaccine, Can We Get Used To This?

“From what I have heard, we plan to start mass production at the Serum Institute in Pune before the trial ends. Once the trial is successful, it can be marketed,” Datta said in her conversation with TOI.

“Vaccine development normally takes three to four years to develop a vaccine and we are trying to do it in a few months. So far we have made approximately 600 of the vaccines. We are in the process of manufacturing more. I think we can make 1,000 and then it will get mass-produced. They are studying new manufacturing facilities in the UK that have not yet been finalised,” she added.

Picture credit- MensXP

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