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UAE Entrepreneur Pledges $5 Million to Finding COVID-19 Vaccine

Khurram Shroff, the Chairman of the IBC Group in Dubai, has joined Vaxbio, a biotechnology company based in Oxford, England, as its Strategic Advisor. Vaxbio is a research and development company that produces affordable vaccines, clones, and innovative biologicals. Shroff will advise Vaxbio on the developing, communicating, executing, and sustaining of its corporate initiatives.

As part of its comprehensive portfolio, Vaxbio’s services also extend to research on live viral vaccines. Early access to coronavirus data has helped their experts to sequence and successfully design a vaccine methodology that is expected to help arrest and reverse the spread of the contagion across the globe. The vaccine is already in the process of being tested on animals, to assess its effectiveness and to detect any side-effects that may require to be monitored. Vaxbio plans to move to Clinical 1 and Clinical 2 trials as soon as possible so that the vaccine is developed and in production by summer.

Dr. Gaurav Gupta, one of the directors of Vaxbio and senior researcher in the Jenner Institute at Oxford University, has played an active role in the research and development of the vaccine. “Oxford University, in collaboration with Wuhan University, contributed a major part to the sequencing. Vaxbio gained access to the sequencing even before it was published, and presented a patent for COVID-19 (novel Wuhan Coronavirus 19) vaccine to the British Patent Office on February 17, 2020,” the company said in a statement.

“Dr. Gupta’s research at the University of Oxford gave him early access to the sequencing of the coronavirus,” Shroff confirmed. “They have devised a formulation that will be affordable. It will cost up to (US) 50 cents per dose, which will allow for the production of the vaccine in batches of 20 million. This will enable us to provide assistance to several countries, at a national scale, within a week. We should be ready with the vaccine in the summer, especially if we get fast-tracked by the British Patent Office, and are adequately supported by resources.”

Among his other ventures in healthcare, Shroff has recently backed the Medical Resource Acquisition Group, LLC, (MRAG) an investment firm focused on disruptive medical technologies, to bring much needed, state-of-the-art dialysis solutions to the Middle East, China, and India. With latest reports confirming that the coronavirus pandemic has already infected more than 110,000 people, organizations and leaders around the world are coming together to make a difference.

Shroff says he has pledged $5 million to assist the pharmaceutical industry, doctors, and scientists in their efforts to develop an effective vaccination to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. “His contribution stands alongside donations from other leading lights of the global business community, such as Alibaba founder Jack Ma, billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, and Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka-Shing, who have collectively pledged over $100 billion to the efforts to help flatten the curve of this outbreak,” the company said.

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