Kolkata woman on Oxford University vaccine project team

LONDON: A Kolkata woman plays a key role in the University of Oxford team trying to develop the Covid-19 vaccine that could end global pandemics.

Chandra Datta, 34, who lives in Oxford, works as a quality assurance manager at a university facility that manufactures the anti-viral vector vaccine - ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 - which went through human trials on Thursday. If the vaccine passes the tests, it will be available to the public in September or October this year, he said, warning, It all depends on test data.

Datta, originally from Kolkata, attended Gokhale Memorial Girls' School and completed her BTech in engineering and biotechnology from, Kolkata. She moved to the UK in 2009 to take an MSc-Bioscience (Biotechnology) course at.

Datta then worked in a variety of roles such as at GSK, a startup called Senzer and pharmacy company Aptuit, before landing her job at University of Oxford ’s clinical bio-manufacturing facility that produces viral vector vaccines for early phase clinical trials all over the world. Datta oversees the quality assurance side of the vaccine manufacturing, making sure procedures and methods are compliant and good manufacturing practices are being followed.

After I reviewed all the papers, the professional quality was batch certification that he was happy for the vaccine to go into clinical trial. That happened on Wednesday with the Covid-19 vaccine, ”said Datta, who is currently working from home.

It was an amazing experience, he said. The last one month everyone was really struggling but we did it quickly. There was a huge team effort.

Datta told TOI, From what I heard, we are planning to start mass production at the Serum Institute in Pune before the trial is passed once the test is passed, it can go to market.

The development of the vaccine usually takes three to four years and we try to do it for a few months. So far we have produced about 600 vaccines. We are in the process of doing more. I think we can make 1,000 and then get it mass produced. They are looking for more manufacturing facilities in the UK that are not yet finished, he said, adding things have not been fixed.

The Oxford team plans to vaccinate 800 volunteers in the UK next month. If the test is successful, then they will approach the Government of Kenya for permission to review in Kenya.

I think the UK was the first to have it clearly because it was a British invention. The vaccine needs to be given around the world if sufficient vaccines are available, ”he said.