The Centre has placed an order with Hyderabad-based drugmaker Biological-E for 30 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses.
The Union Health Ministry will make an advance payment of Rs 1,500 crore to the manufacturer for what will be the second made-in-India vaccine following Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.
The doses will be manufactured and stockpiled by Biological-E from August-December 2021. The development comes after the Centre faced heavy criticism for its vaccination policy, which fell short when the country was hit by a severe second wave of COVID-19 in March-April.
The government had to halt exports of COVID-19 vaccine shots under its "Vaccine Maitri" programme and scrambled to procure more jabs to address shortage in the country.
Biological-E's COVID-19 vaccine is currently undergoing phase-3 clinical trial after manifesting promising results in phase 1 and 2 tests.
The vaccine being developed by the company is an RBD protein sub-unit vaccine and is expected to be available in the next few months.
The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) examined Biological-E's proposal and recommended its COVID-19 vaccine for approval after due diligence.
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