Sadananda Gowda Oversees Covaxin Production In Hyderabad

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New Delhi: Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers D.V. Sadananda Gowda visited Bharat Biotech, Hyderabad on Sunday to oversee the Covaxin production. Minister interacted with the top scientists of Bharat Biotech and complemented the company for making available an indigenous vaccine against COVID-19 for the country.

Vaccination being the only tool to mitigate this deadly pandemic, ramping up of COVID vaccine production is being taken up by the Government of India on a war footing. COVID Suraksha was announced by the Government of India under Atmanirbhar Bharat 3.0 Mission to accelerate the development and production of Indigenous COVID Vaccines. This mission is being spearheaded by Department of Biotechnology Govt of India and implemented by its Public Sector BIRAC. The goal is to reach a target of 6-7 crore COVAXIN doses/month in July – August and further to reach nearly 10 crore doses per month by Sep 2021.

Bharat Biotech Limited, Hyderabad as well as other public sector vaccine manufacturers are being upgraded with infrastructure and technology required for COVAXIN production. Financial support is being provided as grant from GoI to the tune of approx. Rs. 65 Cr to Bharat Biotech’s new Bangalore facility. This facility is being repurposed to increase the capacity of vaccine production. The PSUs being supported by the Department for the augmentation of COVAXIN production are Indian Immununologicals, Hyderabad, Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation Ltd, Mumbai and Bharat Immunologicals and Biologicals Limited (BIBCOL), Bulandshahr.

Bharat Biotech Limited, Hyderabad has also received support under COVID Suraksha to develop a single dose SARS-CoV-2 intranasal vaccine (chimpanzee adenovirus based encoding a perfusion stabilised spike protein). The support is being given for the entire pipeline of vaccine production i.e. from Phase-I clinical trials to licensure. This vaccine could be a game changer being a single dose vaccine subject to efficacy and safety.

Minister also visited Biological E Ltd which has received support under Mission COVID Suraksha for the development of indigenous RBD protein sub-unit based COVID vaccine. The support to Biological E is to the tune of Rs. 100 crores and the vaccine is in Phase-III clinical trials. It is noteworthy to mention that all animal challenge and assay studies were conducted by Biological E through DBTs Autonomous Institute- Translational Health Science Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad.

The vaccine is expected to be available in the next few months. Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has finalized arrangements with Biological-E to reserve 30 crore of COVID-19 vaccine doses. These vaccine doses will be manufactured and stockpiled by M/s Biological-E from August-December 2021. For this purpose, the Union Ministry of Health has made an advance payment of Rs. 1500 crore to M/s Biological-E.Minister urged Biological E to fast track the availability of their COVID-19 vaccine to cater to the need of our country.

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