In a bid to augment India’s Covid-19 vaccine production, the Centre has decided to support some public sector companies with grants under ‘Mission Covid Suraksha’ to help in this endeavour. One such company is the Hyderabad-based Indian Immunological Ltd (IIL), under the National Dairy Development Board.
A technical collaboration agreement has been reached between IIL and Bharat Biotech to supply the drug substance required for manufacturing of Covaxin to the latter, an official statement said.
IIL Managing Director, Dr K. Anand Kumar said: “IIL is planning to start the production of drug substance for Covaxin from next month (June) and send out the first batch to Bharat Biotech Ltd by July.”
Stating that Indian Immunologicals is expected to produce the drug substance for about 10-15 million doses per month, he said it will be initially 2-3 million doses and will be scaled up to 6-7 million per month later in the year.
Kumar said that they are converting IIL’s Karkapatla manufacturing unit near Hyderabad into a Bio Safety Level-3 (BSL3) facility for the production of the drug substance and is also taking up construction of another block. The IIL is also working on another Covid-19 vaccine and the animal trials are underway currently and is expected to come out by next year for human vaccination.
Under Atmanirbhar Bharat 3.0, Mission Covid Suraksha was announced by the government to accelerate the development and production of indigenous COVID vaccines. “This is being implemented by the Department of Biotechnology. IIL Hyderabad has been sanctioned a grant of Rs 60 crore towards enhancing production capabilities,” as per an official statement.
As of today, India has only three vaccines against Covid-19 pandemic in its immunisation drive – two made-in-India vaccines: Serum Institute of India’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin. Russian Sputnik V is the third vaccine to get approval from the Drug Controller General of India for Emergency Use Authorisation and is being used in a few private hospitals which are expected to be increased over the coming days.