Mansukh Mandaviya rolls out Gujarat facility’s first Covaxin batch
Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Sunday rolled out the first commercial batch of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, manufactured at a facility in Gujarat’s Ankleshwar, paving the way to augment the supply of the indigenously developed vaccine against Covid-19.
The Chiron Behring Vaccines plant, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bharat Biotech at Ankleshwar, has a production capacity of at least 10 million doses per month and its doses will be out for use from next month onwards. According to the Centre’s recent statement in Parliament, the production of Covaxin is projected to increase from the current 25 million doses per month to at least 58 million doses around the last quarter of this year.
“Vaccination is crucial to strengthen India’s fight against Covid-19. Today, I released the first commercial batch of Covaxin from Bharat Biotech’s manufacturing plant situated in Ankleshwar, Gujarat,” Mandaviya said in a Twitter post in Hindi.
On Sunday, Bharat Biotech said that it was looking at the annual production target of one billion doses in all its facilities put together.
“A new filing facility constructed during 2020 is now being utilized for the production of Covaxin. The Covaxin production had begun in early June, before which the team had executed engineering batches to study the equipment functionality at the facility. Chiron Behring Vaccines is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bharat Biotech,” said Bharat Biotech in a statement.
Bharat Biotech has already deployed multiple production lines at its Hyderabad, Malur, Bengaluru, and Pune campuses, and the addition of Chiron Behring, Ankleshwar will further augment the production capacity of Covaxin.
“We want to ensure that Bharat Biotech can ably meet the demand for Covaxin such that individuals across the country, and the globe, have access to the vaccine and can secure their health and safety. Our goal to develop a vaccine with global safety and efficacy standards has now been achieved, we are now marching towards the goal of the annualized capacity of ~ 1.0 billion doses,” said Krishna Ella, chairman and managing director, Bharat Biotech.
According to Bharat Biotech, each batch of Covaxin undergoes over 200 quality control tests before being submitted to the Central Drugs Laboratory for final testing.
The company is also exploring manufacturing partnerships in other countries, with its partners who have prior expertise with commercial-scale manufacturing of inactivated viral vaccines under biosafety containment for further augmentation.
Bharat Biotech co-developed Covaxin along with the Indian Council of Medical Research. It is one of the six vaccines being used in India’s Covid-19 immunisation programme, the others being Serum Institute of India’s Covishield, Russian-made Sputnik V, Zydus Cadila’s ZyCov-D, and the American vaccines— Moderna and Johnson and Johnson (J&J).
Till Sunday night, India has administered nearly 850,298 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, with 341,139,477 people vaccinated with one dose and 144,889, 225 people having received both doses of the vaccine.