Bharat Biotech has agreed to allow other companies to manufacture its coronavirus vaccine Covaxin, informed NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr VK Paul. Addressing a press conference on the status of COVID-19 situation in the country on Thursday, Paul invited companies interested in joining the initiative to expand the production of Covaxin.
"People have asked that Covaxin be given to other companies for manufacturing. I am happy to say that Covaxin manufacturing company [Bharat Biotech] has welcomed this when we discussed it with them. Under this vaccine live virus is inactivated and this is done only in BSL3 labs," Paul said.
Bharat Biotech has been producing Covaxin at its Biosafety Level-3 (BSL-3) facilities in Hyderabad and Bengaluru. Production capacity had been enhanced in a step-wise manner, Bharat Biotech had informed last month.
"Not every company has this. We give an open invitation to companies who want to do this. Companies that want to manufacture Covaxin, should do it together," Paul said, adding that government will assist with increasing capacity.
Not every company has this. We give an open invitation to companies who want to do this. Companies that want to manufacture Covaxin, should do it together. Govt will assist so that capacity is increased: Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog— ANI (@ANI) May 13, 2021
Several states have complained of diminishing or depleted stocks of Covaxin. Covaxin centres have been closed for 18-44 age group in certain states as supply of the jab fails to match the demand.
Earlier today, Bharat Biotech submitted its production plan for Covaxin for the next four months, while told Serum Institute of India did the same for Covishield. The Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical major told the Union Health Ministry and the office of Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) that the production of Covaxin can be raised to 3.32 crore in July and 7.82 crore in August, which will also be maintained in September. The Pune-based vaccine manufacturer said that it can scale up the production of Covishield to 10 crore doses.
These developments come on the day DCGI has accepted the recommendation of the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) and given a nod to Bharat Biotech Ltd to conduct Phase II/III clinical trial of COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin in the age group 2 to 18 years. The trial will be conducted in 525 healthy volunteers.