Nearly 10 crore Covaxin doses to be produced per month by September: Govt
The Union ministry of science and technology on Friday said that the production capacity of Covaxin, the country’s first indigenously-developed shot against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) will be ramped up to reach nearly 10 crore doses per month by September 2021.
“Under Mission COVID Suraksha, the Department of biotechnology is providing financial support as grant to vaccine manufacturing facilities for enhanced production capacities,” the ministry said in a press release.
Speaking about the production capacity of Covaxin, it said, “The current production capacity will be doubled by May-June 2021, and then increased nearly six-seven fold by July-August 2021, i.e. increasing the production from one crore vaccine doses in April 2021 to six-seven crore vaccine doses per month in July-August. It is expected to reach nearly 10 crore doses per month by September 2021.”
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On Bharat Biotech International Limited, which has developed the shot, the release noted that as part of the augmentation plan, the production capacities of the Hyderabad-based firm, as well as those of other public sector manufacturers, were being upgraded with required infrastructure and technology. “Financial support is being provided by the government of India to the tune of approximately ₹65 crore to Bharat Biotech’s new Bengaluru facility, which is being repurposed to increase the capacity of vaccine production,” it added.
The ministry further mentioned that three public sector companies are also being supported to increase the vaccine production capacity: Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation Limited, Mumbai; Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL), Hyderabad; and Bharat Immunologicals and Biologicals Limited (BIBCOL), Bulandshahr.
Haffkine requested for 12 months to make its facility available for vaccine production but was asked by the government to do so “urgently” within six months, the release said, adding that once functional, the facility will be able to produce two crore doses in a month. IIL and BIBCOL, it said, will be supported to prepare their facilities to produce one-1.5 crore vaccine doses per month.
Covaxin, with an 81% efficacy, is one of two vaccines being used in the nation’s vaccination drive against the viral disease, which began on January 16, and is currently in its third phase. The other shot is the one developed by Oxford University-Astrazeneca, which is being manufactured as “Covishield” in India by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII). A third, the Russian-made Sputnik V, was approved for emergency use by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on Monday.