The Centre has given its nod to Mumbai-based Haffkine Institute to manufacture Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin.
During a video-conference between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief ministers of the states, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had requested to allow Haffkine Institute, run by the Maharashtra government, to manufacture Covaxin.
In a letter to Maharashtra Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte, Renu Swarup, Secretary in Department of Biotechnology, said Haffkine Institute can manufacture the vaccine doses.
Technology transfer will take place from Bharat Biotech to Haffkine for manufacturing Covaxin. Haffkine has been given a time of 1 year for it and the state government is likely to spend around Rs 180 crore in making necessary changes in the institute's assembly line for making Covaxin.
The Maharashtra government will appoint a senior officer to monitor and complete the project, which will increase availability of Covaxin, in time.
The Haffkine Institute is a multi-disciplinary institute engaged in training, research and manufacturing of anti-rabies serum, anti-snake venom serum and oral polio vaccine.
Currently, Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, and Covaxin are being administerd under the country's COVID-19 vaccination programme. As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the country, the Centre this week also gave emergency use authorisation to Russia's Sputnik V vaccine. Besides, it has also fast-tracked the approval process for foreign vaccines.
India reported 2,00,739 new COVID-19 cases in the preceding 24 hours as on Thursday morning, while 11.44 crore doses of vaccine have been administered so far.