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Health ministry buys 300M doses of Biological-E’s COVID vaccine in advance

The Centre has finalised arrangements with Hyderabad-based vaccine manufacturer, Biological-E, to reserve 300 million Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine doses, Union ministry of health and family welfare announced on Thursday.

“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 would be making an advance payment of ₹1,500 crore to M/s Biological-E,” a statement by the ministry said.

The RBD protein sub-unit vaccine, which is currently undergoing Phase III clinical trials, is likely to be available in the next few months.

“The arrangement with M/s Biological-E is part of the wider endeavour of Government of India to encourage indigenous vaccine manufacturers by providing them support in Research & Development (R&D) and also financial support,” the statement read.

The vaccine candidate has been supported by Government of India since the pre-clinical stage. The department of biotechnology not only provided financial assistance in terms of grant-in-aid of over ₹100 crore but has also partnered with Biological-E to conduct all animal challenge and assay studies through its Research Institute Translational Health Science Technology Institute, Faridabad (Haryana).

According to the ministry, the aid is a part of government of India’s “Mission COVID Suraksha- the Indian COVID-19 Vaccine Development Mission” that aims to bring a safe, efficacious, affordable, and accessible Covid-19 vaccine.

The mission is currently supporting the development of five-six Covid-19 vaccine candidates, and some of these are now close to license and introduction in public health systems. Hindustan Times