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COVID-19 vaccine: How Centre is scaling up Covaxin production

According to the Union health ministry’s estimate, 55 crore doses of Covaxin, the indigenous vaccine developed by Hyderabad’s Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research, will be available in the country between August and December 2021. While Bharat Biotech itself is ramping up the production, the Centre has created additional ways to boost the production as it has already entered into agreements with three public sector undertakings that will get the technology from Bharat Biotech and will manufacture the vaccines at their own facilities. Talks are on with several others, the Centre has recently said.

3 PSUs will produce one crore doses each every month
Hyderabad’s Indian Immunologicals Limited, Uttar Pradesh’s Bharat Immunologicals and Biologicals Corporation and Mumbai’s Haffkine Institute for Training will start producing Covaxin. “Our teams went and assessed the situation. Agreements were signed, they were explained about the technology. It is because of these efforts that arrangements have been formalised. A lot of thinking, efforts and arrangements have gone into this,” Niti Aayog (health) member VK Paul said on Saturday.

2 firms, Gujarat institute to scale up Covaxin production
Private firms are also welcome, the government has said. Even Serum Institute, the manufacturer of Covishield, and the world’s biggest vaccine maker is also welcome to take up manufacturing of Covaxin.

The Gujarat government, along with Hester Biosciences and OmniBRx, has approached the Centre expressing interest in getting the technology from Bharat Biotech. If everything works, 20 million doses of Covaxin are estimated to be produced from Gujarat. “A triparty consortium has been formed with the Government of Gujarat as the lead partner, to explore the prospects of manufacturing the Covid vaccine through technology from Bharat Biotech,” Hester Biosciences CEO and MD Rajiv Gandhi said in a statement, as quoted by news agency PTI.

Bharat Biotech getting a new facility in Karnataka
Karnataka will soon have a manufacturing plant of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin in Maluru industrial area, near Kolara district, which is 80 km from Bengaluru. Construction works have already started, the state government said.

Why many labs can’t produce Covaxin
Covaxin production deals with live inactivated virus. So only Biosafety Laboratory-3 can undertake the work. Many companies do not have such sophisticated laboratories which ensure the safety of the scientists dealing with live virus. Hindustan Times